The U.S. president and vice president are not the only elected officials on the ballot this year. People have been calling this year “an election year,” and they’re right, but every year is actually an election year, just not for the president. While the president and vice president are very important offices, they aren’t the most important office for your community.
Federal elected officials have the entire nation to think about, and the legislative priorities in Los Angeles, California are not the same legislative priorities in Carlinville, Illinois. If you want to see and create change in your community, you need to know who has the power to make those changes. Here are all the state and county offices that are up for election in Macoupin County this November, and what these officials are responsible for.
|General Assembly (State Legislature)||Requirements||Responsibilities|
|State Senator and State Representative||To be in the General Assembly, a person has to be at least 21 years old and a resident of the district they’re running in for two years.||Members of the Illinois General Assembly are responsible for creating laws, the state budget, and various substantive laws to help the people of Illinois.
They can also propose amendments to the Illinois Constitution.
|Circuit Clerk||The Circuit Clerk keeps the records of the Circuit Court. They assist the judge by preparing and maintaining court records, collecting fees and fines, and processing paperwork. They issue citations, notices and summons for the Sheriff. They also serve subpoenas. They have to be at all court sessions to record the proceedings and decisions that come from the court. The Circuit Clerk is a state constitutional officer.|
|Coroner||The Office of the Coroner is open to regular people. You do not need to be a physician. Within 30 days of assuming office, a coroner must apply for admission to the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board coroners training program.
The coroner is a law enforcement official. They have the same powers and are liable to the same consequences as the sheriff. When there is no sheriff, the coroner performs all the duties of the sheriff until another one is elected or appointed.
The coroner works with the police and is responsible for investigating and determining cause of death possibly due to criminal activity or criminal negligence.
|State’s Attorney||The State’s Attorney is the chief prosecuting officer of the county. They have the responsibility for prosecuting all criminal violations and some regulatory violations of the State of Illinois.
The State’s Attorney has discretion on what charges will be filed against someone in various situations. They must be in good standing with the ABA and have passed the bar exam.
There are nine districts in Macoupin county and 18 Board Members. Six of them are up for reelection this year.
|The Board Members of a county serve the legislative and executive powers within the jurisdiction of the county. They decide tax rates, the annual budget, and evaluate all claims and prosecute or defend lawsuits brought by or against the county and any of its officers.
They also have the power to assist the local elections authority with voter registration, fixing election districts and polling places, appointing election judges, and providing for balloting boxes.
Board Members have a lot of discretion in many other areas of community regulation and well-being. They can influence public health, environmental health, prison facilities, public spaces like parks and libraries, provide social services, and provide for road and highway construction.
These are just the Macoupin County local and state elected officials you can vote for this year. There are more elections next year, and the year after that. For a complete list of elected officials that Macoupin County residents can vote for, go to this website.
You can find the offices up for reelection this year in your county at https://www.usa.gov/election-office. With the current discussions about racial injustice, particularly with police departments, it’s important to know that you can vote for some of the people who oversee the police department. If you find out a coroner is falsifying autopsy reports, the community can remove them from their position by electing someone. If you live in a state where the coroner isn’t an elected position, they would be appointed by the Sheriff. In that case, you could vote for a Sheriff who will appoint the kind of coroner you’d like to see in your community. If your community doesn’t like the way the legal system is prosecuting cases, they can vote for a new State’s Attorney.
Make sure you pay attention to your state representative and senator as well. They are the ones making the laws that local officials have to execute. State laws often directly affect you and your family more than federal laws, yet many people don’t know who their state representatives and senators are. If you don’t like any candidate, you could also run for a state representative or senator position.
When you look into these smaller offices, you often see people running unopposed. Another thing you can do to influence change in your community is to run for these positions. There’s hardly any information about Board member elections in the media, yet Board members have a lot of control over what happens, or doesn’t happen, in your community. You could run for Board member of your district. Big changes happen in little governments. There are resources available to help those who want to run for local office, like this and this.
Because there’s very little information about local campaigns in the media and online, it can be hard to research who the best candidate is. Because local governments are so small, however, you have a better chance of contacting your elected officials directly. Their phone numbers and office locations are listed on your county website. You can ask them direct questions or make direct requests.
Electing a president is important, but if you want to see real and quick change, start with your local government.