Congratulations to April 7th Winners

Congratulations to Jessica Morrison and Zubair Khan, who were elected Tuesday to the District 15 Board of Education. Both Jessica and Zubair were born in Arlington Heights and grew up in the northwest suburbs. They will bring new ideas and a spirit of cooperation to the board.

Dave Gurion ran a great race. He impressed a lot of people, and you haven't seen the last of him.

You can view the District 15 election results, including precinct-by-precinct results, by clicking on this link. There are still some absentee and provisional ballots to be counted. Watch this site for updates.

Hal Snyder appears to have been elected to the Palatine Public Library District. Hal was the only candidate on the ballot, but there were three write-in candidates. Write-in votes won't be tabulated until next week. You can monitor the results by clicking on this link, or revisit this blog post from time to time for updates when they become available.

I'm troubled by the low voter turnout (less than 11 percent of registered voters). Cook County Clerk David Orr suggested today that Illinois consider mail-only voting for local elections. That's how all elections are conducted in Oregon and Washington State, and they have much higher turnout. One reason: you don't have to apply for a ballot. If you're registered, they will mail you a ballot before each election. Most precincts had fewer than 100 voters all day. It's a waste to staff thousands of polling places, especially for low-turnout elections like this one.

Real Hope for the Future

Last June, Al Gore wrote an article in Rolling Stone titled "The Turning Point: New Hope for the Climate" in which he argued that people around the world are finally starting to take the actions necessary to save our planet. Gore reminded us of three great quotations. The first was from Winston Churchill in 1936 as war was imminent:

"Owing to past neglect, in the face of the plainest warnings, we have entered upon a period of danger. . . . The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience of delays is coming to its close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequences. . . . We cannot avoid this period; we are in it now."

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Gun Ownership is Declining

The loud voices of gun-rights extremists make it seem as though they have the majority of Americans on their side. To the contrary, they represent a smaller and smaller percentage of households in America and in Illinois.

The University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center (NORC) has been asking this question every two years since 1973: “Do you happen to have in your home (or garage) any guns or revolvers?” The household gun ownership rate has fallen from an average of 50 percent in the 1970s to 32 percent in 2010, according to the survey data analyzed by The New York Times.

The rate of gun ownership in Illinois is even lower: 20.2 percent, according to a 2001 study reported in the Washington Post. Since the percentage of gun ownership has continued to decline since 2001, it’s fair to assume that more than 80% of Illinois households do not own any guns. And even most gun owners support reasonable gun violence prevention measures like universal background checks, prohibiting assault weapons, and limiting the size of magazine clips.

The November 2014 ballot in Cook County contained an advisory referendum on requiring background checks for firearm sales and prohibiting assault weapon sales. It passed with 84% of votes cast in the suburbs (556,074 to 106,659 votes) and 90% in the City of Chicago (536,655 to 61,639) .

So remember: we have most of the people on our side. The gun rights extremists do not, no matter how many times and how loudly they say they do.

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