Meet John Doe: Get involved — run for local office

By Paul Gorski

Some people contribute to the community with donations, others through volunteerism, and yet others by running for public office. The filing period for the 2014 election cycle began Sept. 3, and the race is on to get petition signatures. Circulate your nominating petitions now!

What are nominating petitions, you ask? An election cycle primer is in order.

Oversimplifying it a bit, there are three major election cycles locally: presidential, gubernatorial and municipal. Certain years, we elect the president of the United States and certain other local and county officials. Voter turnout is greatest during presidential elections.

And in still other years, usually in the spring of certain odd-numbered years, we elect municipal (city), township, school board and other local officials. Voter turnout for these elections is the weakest, sometimes amounting to 20 percent or less of eligible voters.

We’re in a gubernatorial election cycle now. In November 2014, we will be voting for governor and other major state officers. We will also be voting for U.S. senator and U.S. congressional representatives, in addition to state representatives and certain state senators and court judges. Local races include Winnebago County Sheriff, Clerk, and Treasurer; some county board members; and a few other local officials. Voter turnout is good, but not great, for these races...