ROCKFORD - A candidate forum
at the Rockford Library
city aldermen candidates out in force on Tuesday night, but many of the
spectator seats were filled by either the candidates relatives or people
involved with the forum itself. It begs
the question: Have Rockford voters lost interest in their city is run?
"It's sad," said
Paula Lind of the League of Women Voters.
"It's sad that people are closed off from the one thing that they can do
freely and that's vote and voice their opinion on one day."
It's the whole
reason Lind's organization teamed up with the Next Rockford group to organize
several forums to raise awareness of the new candidates and let voters learn
about the candidates face to face. The
goal is to get people to come out and vote.
"We're hoping to
encourage and excite people about coming out to vote on April 9th,"
Most of the
candidates at Tuesday night's forum are newcomers to the Rockford political scene. Some are challenging incumbents on city council,
but many are running in races left open by alderman who are leaving or have
left their posts. Six alderman positions
city council will inevitably be filled with new blood. That's the reason Rockford Next's, Frank
Haney says this election is so important.
people one time for the next four years and so the decisions we make have a
lasting impact and we're going to be looking at some big issues," said Haney.
Haney admits turn
out for Rockford's
primaries in February were disappointing, but he and Lind point out that it is
something that Rockfordians can learn from.
Many races in the primary were decided by just a handful of votes like
incumbent Lenny Jacobson's race where he lost by less than 10 votes. Every vote does county can has the ability to
change the future of Rockford.
"If we sit this one
out on April 9th, then we become a part of the problem," said Haney.
Rockford residents still
have an opportunity to register to vote in the April 9th election. March 12th is technically the last
day, but there is a grace period March 13 - April 6, where residents can
register to vote but in turn will have to vote at the same time if they want to
be able to vote in the April 9th election. Grace period registration and voting will
only take place at the Rockford Board of Elections office at 301 S. 6th Street.
Early voting for the April 9th election begins on Wednesday, March 13th for those who are already registered to vote too.