IDCCA President’s Message
by Kristina Zahorik, IDCCA President
@ILDCCA @McHenryDems

Local elections are about our path forward

Hello Fellow Chairs and Friends,

We just completed the 2019 Consolidated Election. Thank you to all the Democrats who ran for office. Congratulations to those who won. For those who didn’t finish with a win, don’t give up. Illinois still needs you.

The April election was historic for Cook County. Women of color will hold the top political offices in the city and county: Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (Cook), Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, city Treasurer-elect Melissa Conyears-Ervin, Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough, and Leadership Circle Member, City Clerk of Chicago Anna Valencia.

Turnout for this election was low and some may think it means the Blue Wave is over. They would be wrong.

Most of the non-partisan races were uncontested; thus did not draw out voters. Where there were contests, turnout increased. In fact, DuPage County, home to our second largest county Party, experienced over 40% turnout for a referendum. DuPage County also had the highest turnout overall for the suburbs and an increased turnout from 2015.

There’s another factor to consider: In 2018, Cook County and the collars registered almost half a million new voters.

As Chair Preckwinkle (Cook) said about the mayoral race, “Not long ago, two African-American women vying for this position would have been unthinkable. And while it may be true that we took different paths to get here, tonight is about the path forward.”

As I look forward to 2020, the IDCCA is again committed to filling the ballot. If you know of someone who would be a great candidate, ask them to run and have them get in touch with their County Chair or the IDCCA.  Precinct Committeepeople, the most important elected position within the Party, are up too. Outside of Cook County, these positions are elected.

There are other opportunities to get involved and share your talents. We need Election Judges, poll watchers, and county party volunteers. Many of our organizations need volunteers with skills in organizing, fundraising, event planning, web development, graphics, writing, attorneys, and social media.

The IDCCA, in conjunction with the National Democratic Training Committee, provides training for many of these positions at the IDCCA Boot Camp held in Springfield on May 17 – 19. We are accepting applications for all three training tracks now: 2019 Boot Camp Application .

These other positions within our county Parties are vital. For example, I think about how important it was for my county to have pollwatchers during the 2018 and 2019 elections. We uncovered several disturbing things including no Democratic judges at a polling location, a candidate listed running for two offices, a candidate initially left off the ballot, an entire street disenfranchised, incorrect referendums placed on the ballot, and incorrect ballot styles. The IDCCA is working to develop trainings and materials for our Chairs on poll watching. You can contribute to this effort here: DONATE.

I continue to travel throughout our great state, including Cook County, meeting with fellow Democrats and county parties when I can. And, hopefully, I will see some of you at our up-coming After Party in Springfield on May 6th.

Best wishes,