University of Illinois students can have an impact in November

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Instead of feeling powerless about the situation in Washington D.C., Oak Park and River Forest residents can influence swing congressional races outside our safe blue 7th District.

Our college students in other districts give us a big lever. If you have, or know a family who has, a child at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), you can encourage the student to register and vote on campus for Betsy Dirksen Londrigan for Congress. There are roughly 220 students from our community at UIUC. All they need is a student ID and a postmarked letter addressed to them at their local campus address to register and vote at the Illini Union for about a week and a half before the election. Illinois' 13th Congressional District, which includes UIUC, Illinois State (ISU), and about 10 other schools, is a swing congressional district, so our efforts there have a big effect on who controls Congress.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg —we have students all over the country that can do the same.  If you have a child or know someone at university, look up their school here: to see if they are in a swing district.

Specific registration requirements and early voting schedules depend on the local election authority. Here is a "how-to" doc for parents to motivate their kids and make a plan to vote, with details for on-campus early voting and grace period registration/voting at UIUC and ISU:

Beyond the UIUC and ISU campuses, google the clerk of the county listed for the school found in the "competitive-schools" link above.

Control of Congress could depend on a few hundred votes in just a few districts. Talk to those students and make sure they vote in those swing districts.

Frank Hansen

Oak Park

Reader Comments

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Ruth Lazarus  

Posted: October 23rd, 2018 8:52 PM

Yes, Tom! We can agree about the importance of voting. I am happy to be stuck with you in town, especially when you stay away from the snark. I was just worried about you, so good to know I don't need to worry so much.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 22nd, 2018 8:30 PM

OK Ruth ,you are stuck with me here in town but I respect you and we are not always going to agree, but that is why people talk. These little comments forums are not the best way but all we have. You and I were pretty much agreeing that voting was important, it would be nice to actually have choices more often.

Ruth Lazarus  

Posted: October 22nd, 2018 6:00 PM

Tom, it's hard to imagine how you would consider a legal resident voting in a local election, "gaming the system". I am sorry that you are not happy with the voting choices you have here. Maybe you'd be happier living somewhere else?

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: October 22nd, 2018 11:01 AM

Oh, OK Tom. I didn't realize you are now speaking for "lots of people." Must be a heavy responsibility. In any event, my still point stands. I favor the open and free practice of democracy, and distain anything that threatens that freedom. Whether caused by by Democrats or Republicans.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 22nd, 2018 9:34 AM

Lots of people are easily confused by your posts Bill. But in Oak Park, as Ruth explains, gaming the system is a shared family value. I am still waiting to actually have a choice during an election.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: October 22nd, 2018 9:06 AM

Re-read my post, Tom, and tell me just where exactly I said it was "OK" to gerrymander. Let me be clear. as you seem to get confused easily- I said people who are upset with Illinois gerrymandering must be even more upset with the gerrymandering in Texas and other southern states. The practice sucks, and should be illegal, no matter who is doing it and who benefits from it.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: October 22nd, 2018 8:18 AM

I agree MIke. Both sides enjoy gerrymandering, but the right seems to use it more often. Now, that is not to excuse what Madigan has done here in Illinois. His power is sickening.

Neal Buer  

Posted: October 21st, 2018 4:55 PM

This is funny! Even states look gerrymandered, or they would all be square or rectangles.

Ruth Lazarus from Oak Park  

Posted: October 21st, 2018 2:22 PM

Sorry to see the negative comments, but hopefully most people reading this letter will appreciate the idea. Many of us have college students who share our values and concerns, and who are happy to be involved and be able to make a difference in this especially important election.

Mike Hanline  

Posted: October 18th, 2018 1:40 PM

Funny how so many people only seem to care about gerrymandering when it "disenfranchises" them personally. Voters should choose elected officials, not the other way around. Both sides may be guilty of it, but at the national level the GOP has weaponized it.

Nick A Binotti  

Posted: October 18th, 2018 11:15 AM

I tend to skip lectures in Whataboutism.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 18th, 2018 10:40 AM

Wow, there is gerrymandering in Texas so that makes it ok for voters in Illinois to be subjected to the same thing. Brilliant observation.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: October 17th, 2018 10:43 PM

Hmmm! Well, if you guys are so very disgusted with the IL 4th and 7th District gerrymanders, you must be jus' 'bout ready to pass out when you study the Tom DeLay inspired maps Republicans crafted in Texas and other southern states. Or is that somehow different from the what Democrats did here?

Nick A Binotti  

Posted: October 17th, 2018 5:10 PM

Tom - Please do not disparage the important stretch of the Dan Ryan Expressway between 33rd and 35th St that connects the west end of Davis' district to the south end of Davis' district. Next thing you know, you'll want Davis to annex the sliver of land between I-294 and I-290, splitting Gutierrez's 4th district in half.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 17th, 2018 10:19 AM

Gerrymandering is now labeled as "safe". It is a sick world.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: October 16th, 2018 9:04 PM

Why not use those bright eyed students to comb the 7th district to find a representative who will serve all of his/her constituents, of all colors, who, actually wants the job. Rep Davis has expressed interest in Mayor of Chicago, Cook County board president and Ill Governor, but the only ones dumb enough to employ him are the residents of the seventh. There are no looney leftist progressive claptrap ideas that Rep Davis isn't interested in lending his name, photo (8x10 glossy) and good office to support. This author seems to believe it would be a splendid idea to make every other district in the area just as poorly represented as ours is.

Nick Polido  

Posted: October 16th, 2018 8:42 PM

The resistance is strong with you Frank.....I love the idea of not only telling our young children how to vote but to instruct them to vote in a district that they have no skin in the game with the exception of paying outrageous tuition and borrowing more money than they understand to attend these colleges. What a great Idea of indoctrinating our young adults to participate in these congressional districts where these people are simply stupid.....

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