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Political science department offers help prior to Illinois primary

Barry McNamara
03/19/2018
Political science professor introduces Friday's 'Monmouth Votes' program. The Illinois primary is Tuesday, March 20.
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College’s political science department is helping prepare the campus community for Tuesday’s Illinois Primary Election. On Friday, the department held an informational “Monmouth Votes” session, which outlined the major issues of the primary.

“We want to help build an informed citizenry, an informed community,” said Assistant Professor of Political Science Andre Audette.

Audette said the department plans to follow up in the fall with a session prior to the general election. He hopes the “Monmouth Votes” series will become a tradition.

Audette told the audience on Friday that primaries typically have low voter turnout; four years ago, only 18 percent of eligible Warren County voters cast a ballot in the 2014 primary.

“But primaries are important, and state and local politics are important,” he said.

Fellow political science professor Michael Nelson reminded the audience that many national politicians have their start on the local level.

“I like to think that politics are trickle up,” said Nelson. “A mayor becomes governor, a governor becomes president. It can be very helpful to make connections with a politician when they’re still on the local or state level.”

Audette noted another advantage of local politics.

“If the national political scene is getting you down, and you feel it’s too big for you to do anything about, state and local politics is a way for you to get involved and make a difference,” he said.

The “Monmouth Votes” session also featured discussion about the contested local and state races, and students Emma Hildebrand ’20 of Mendon, Ill., and Joe Doner ’20 of Arlington Heights, Ill., presented the overall perspectives of the Democratic and Republican parties.

Audette told voters that they can check their registration status at the website ova.elections.il.gov.

“You can also see your polling places, and other information is available there,” he said.

For those who aren’t registered to vote, Audette said to visit the Warren County clerk, whose office is in the Warren County Courthouse on the northwest quadrant of Monmouth’s Public Square.