Column: Illinois primary is approaching quickly

Chris Picazo, Opinions Editor

Can you believe that the 2016 Presidential Election is only nine months away? The time is approaching quickly, but what’s coming even faster is March 15.

I mean, we are only six weeks away from this landmark day for our state.

I’ve written columns about his before, but I still don’t think the message has bas reached to students on campus.

March 15 is an important date in Illinois, and I hope you know what is going on in our somewhat OK state.

If not, don’t worry because I’m going to tell you anyway. March 15 is the date for the primary in Illinois. What are the primaries you ask?

The primary election a preliminary election used to select candidates to lead a party.

Before a candidate can be on the ballot representing the party they are affiliated with, they must first win the support of their political party.

Primary elections come before the general election, which is used to select the President of the United States, and the entire process kicked off on Monday with the Iowa Caucus.

It is an exciting time, and I hope all students on campus are paying attention to what is going right now.

The Iowa Caucus showed that the Democratic nomination could be a much tighter race than expected as Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated Bernie Sanders.

According to the New York Times, Sanders was originally 40 points behind Clinton when the two candidates first announced their intentions to run for president.

Monday night showed us that Hillary Clinton received 49.9 percent of votes and Sanders received 49.6 percent of votes.  It was called a tie, and according to Iowa’s Democratic Caucus guide, a tie can be settled with a coin toss.

Clinton was able to win six precincts through this rule and put her ahead to win Iowa.

On the other side, Ted Cruz was able to beat Donald Trump for the Republican caucus.

Regardless of what your political party preference, make sure to pay attention to the candidates, and what is happening right now.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the candidates, right now is the perfect time. The primaries give more attention to the candidates, and you can find one that best represents your beliefs and ideologies.

We are all adults on this campus, and we should all be old enough to vote, so your exercise right to do so next month.

Register to vote now because the last day for voter registration is Tuesday Feb. 16.  That is less than two weeks away.

You can register to vote at the County Clerk’s office, through the mail or even online.

If you for some reason haven’t already done so, go do that as soon as possible.

Students should be aware of what is going on in politics especially when it comes to presidential elections.

We have the opportunity to select the next president, so this isn’t just something we should ignore.

Pay attention now to make an informed vote next month. Then continue to pay attention to what goes on until the general election on Nov. 8.

The more you pay attention to what is going on now, the more educated you will be to make an informed vote by the time the primary and general election come.

Don’t wait to register because before you know, it’s going to be too late.

Chris Picazo is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].