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One more look back at last week's election : Editorials : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
One more look back at last week's election
Voters liked the idea of lower taxes, but took a pass on actual savings


Here are some thoughts and impressions on last week's historic election for our readers' consideration:

*Did anyone doubt that an advisory referendum asking voters if they would like local governmental agencies to reduce their property tax levies by 20 percent would pass by an overwhelming margin? But while they were voting in favor of the idea of lower taxes, the county's unincorporated voters-including those in the sprawling Boulder Hill Subdivision--handily defeated an electric aggregation referendum that would have actually put real money back into their pockets. Go figure.

*We were not at all surprised that voters, for the second time this year, rejected a referendum to increase the surcharge for KenCom, Kendall County's 911 emergency dispatching service. If voters had approved the measure, it would have cost the county's landline phone customers an additional $9 per year. The measure was placed on the ballot by the county board, but inexplicably no one from KenCom or the county board came forward to explain to the public why they were being asked to pony up more money for this vital public service. If KenCom does in fact need more revenues to keep the county's 911 system in working order, someone had better speak up soon.

*The number of Kendall County voters who cast ballots early continues to climb. A record number of early votes were cast at the county's two early voting sites: the county office building in Yorkville and Oswego Village Hall. We expect the number of early voters will grow in the years ahead and the county clerk's office should plan now to expand the number of early voting sites to include locations in the populous Joliet section of the county and in the City of Plano. Kendall County is a bedroom community where the vast majority of its residents commute to jobs on weekdays outside the county. Early voting is a real convenience for the many residents who are in a hurry to get to and from work. Residents of neighboring Kane and Will counties already have the convenience of multiple early voting sites. All Kendall voters-not just those living in the Oswego and Yorkville areas--deserve the same convenience.

*The Kendall County Democratic Party made history again with the election of not one, but two candidates for county board seats, incumbent Elizabeth Flowers of Montgomery and newcomer Amy Cesich of Yorkville. Frankly, until Flowers was first elected to the board in 2008, we never thought we would see the day come when a Democrat would be elected to any county governmental office.

*President Barack Obama made history in Kendall County four years ago when he became the first Democratic candidate for president to win the county. Obama, however, didn't do quite as well in Kendall this time, garnering 47 percent of the ballots cast compared to Republican Mitt Romney's 51 percent. Still, Obama's showing offers furthers evidence that Democrats have made significant gains as the county's population has increased to more than 114,000 over the past three decades. Romney's 51 percent of the local vote pales in comparison to the 70 percent of the Kendall County votes Ronald Reagan received here back in 1980.

*Given Kendall County and our nation's changing demographics and increasing diversity, it would behoove the Republicans to put out the 'Welcome' mat and attempt to cultivate both non-white voters and candidates. For starters, the Kendall County GOP might want to consider who they invite to their annual summer family picnic. Instead of inviting polarizing speakers that attract demonstrators like the controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio in 2011, local GOP chieftains should consider seeking out speakers who can appeal to the county's increasingly diverse voting public.

*Voter turnout in the county came in just under 70 percent (69.04). That's respectable, but still well under the 82.5 percent turnout reported here in the 1992 presidential election.

*Believe it or not, the next election is right around the corner. Candidates will begin filing petitions Dec. 17 for the local consolidated election scheduled for April 9. Up for election will be several seats on the Oswego School District Board, Oswego and Montgomery village boards, Oswego Township Board, Oswegoland Park District Board and Oswego Public Library District Board. In addition, voters will elect the village president in Montgomery and the Oswego Township supervisor, clerk, assessor and highway commissioner.

All of those elected will have a direct voice in how much you will pay in property taxes in the years ahead. Sadly, however, we will predict right here and now that unless a school district tax referendum is placed on the ballot, fewer than 20 percent of the registered voters will bother to cast ballots next April. We hope the voters prove us wrong.

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