Women for Change educates residents about local candidates in Carbondale

Exercising your right to vote

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - On Tuesday, April 2 across the Heartland local elections are happening in our communities. The local candidates who win will have new powers bestowed upon them that have a lot of direct impact on each of us as a citizen where we live.

Around election day, Ginger Rye is normally a very busy lady, as President of Women for Change Carbondale, a bipartisan organization that educates citizens in town about candidates running for office. She believes the local ones may be the most important to pay attention to because of how directly they influence our lives.

“They affect the quality of our schools, the quality of our park districts, they affect ordinances that are passed, and they affect so many things,” she said.

Which is why she says she and other members of Women for Change try to get as many people registered to vote as they can, host forums where the candidates can lay out their platforms, and knocks on doors in her community, getting out the vote.

However, even though local politicians can impact us as much as they can, not as many people show up to vote for these races according to Jackson County Clerk and Recorder, Frank Byrd.

“Historically, consolidated (local) elections aren’t as involved as a presidential election,” he said, “but anything can happen.”

Just this past November, voters in Jackson County showed up to the polls in record numbers for the state elections at nearly 53 percent. As for the last consolidated elections, two years ago, on the other hand, only 16.4 percent voted.

Byrd said it really depends on the candidate, the race, and the bases to determine how heated or cut throat the race will be, but it happens.

Rye thinks people should take it upon themselves to see what candidates are all about despite how fired up a voter base is.

“Because the most frustration thing you can do is go to the polls to cast a vote and you don’t know anything about the persons who are running,” she said.

Above all, she wants to reiterate that voting is important.

“Somebody said, ‘if you change the narrative, you can shift the culture,’” she said, “And so we have to keep talking because there’s always going to be people who are negative, who’ll say voting doesn’t really work, but we know it works.”

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