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The Knox Student

The Knox Student

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November 13, 2023

Public Library Hosts Midterm Candidates Forums


Knox students recently had the opportunity to register to vote here in Galesburg, and in the coming weeks they’ll be able to hear from candidates on the ballot firsthand. 

The NAACP (a nonpartisan organization), the Register Mail, and the Galesburg Public Library are sponsoring two Candidate Forums in the next two weeks – one for the county contests like the County Clerk and County Sheriff, and one for the Federal and State Contests.  

Chair and Professor of Economics Richard Stout is encouraging Knox students registered to vote in Knox County to attend. 

“I think that when you are in a room and a candidate is responding to a question, they have to do that on the spot,” he said, “they’re not reading from a script maybe they have answered the question before, maybe they’re their answer is something that they have rehearsed, but you’re seeing them in action – you see how they respond to the questions, you hear the tone of voice, you see the facial expression.” 

Stout believes that the County Clerk may be of particular interest to Knox students. The County Clerk runs and certifies the elections in Knox County. 

“We want all voters – including Knox student voters – to have faith that the process is fair and properly taken care of,” Stout said. 

The other county office Stout feels students should pay extra attention to is the County Sheriff. The County Sheriff determines much about how policing is handled in Knox County – something that many students have strong opinions on. 

“Knox students who are going to be voting, they want to make sure that the Knox Sheriff deputies don’t engage in profiling […] that deputies know how to deescalate a situation” he said. 

The other contests Stout feels are especially important are the federal and state elections – the federal representative, Illinois Senator, and Illinois representative. The later two are the people who will serve at the State Capitol in Springfield. 

Stout thinks it’s likely that both state and federal candidates will be asked about abortion rights and voter suppression. He said it was highly possible that the state candidates, as well as the County Sheriff and Judicial candidates will be asked about the new bill impacting bail – House Bill 3653

Often, less people vote in elections that aren’t presidential, but Stout believes local elections are just as important as the vote for the president.  

“It’s a right and a privilege, and I’d almost say it’s a duty to vote,” he said. “Because it takes the Senate and the Congress for a president to be effective or ineffective, so even in the case that it’s not a presidential election year, but Biden needs all the help he can get, or all the opposition you want to throw at him”. 

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