Voting isn’t always easy. Elections in the U.S. are dominated by two big parties. Neither truly represents you. In the past, maybe you voted for one out of fear of the other. Maybe you didn’t vote at all. This November, though, there are two easy choices for Southern Illinois. There are two races where you can vote for a third-party candidate who’s running against an “unopposed” candidate.
Vote for write-in candidates Catherine Talbott in Illinois District 117 and Tabitha Tripp in Illinois District 118.
[If you don’t know what district you live in, check here. District 117 includes Marion, West Frankfurt, Benton, Carterville, Williamson County, Franklin County, and a chunk of southwest Hamilton County. District 118 includes eastern Carbondale, Makanda, Harrisburg, eastern Union County, most of Hamilton County, and all of Alexander, Pulaski, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Saline, Gallatin, and Hardin Counties. If you’ve never voted for a write-in before, it’s simple.]
Some people choose not to vote for third-party candidates because they’re afraid of the so-called “spoiler effect”. I’ll talk more about this “spoiler effect fallacy” in my next post or two. I’ll also share some of my endorsements in other races. In the meantime, I want to make my case for these two candidates.
I’ve had the good fortune of knowing both Catherine and Tabitha for several years. Let me tell you a bit about them.
Catherine Talbott is a mother and grandmother who has lived and worked in Southern Illinois for 33 years. At some point in every conversation I’ve had with her, she’s shared her keen insights into something we can do to improve life for the working people and families of Southern Illinois. She’s a write-in candidate because she believes that “we the people” need someone who will fight to lift up our people out of poverty and create a new economy based on caring and sharing the abundance that is produced. She says that none of us are secure as long as one of us is homeless, hungry, and without the necessities of life. She is an advocate of green jobs, clean energy, and a ban on fracking.
Tabitha Tripp is an artist and mother who has spent a remarkable amount of time and energy working to keep Southern Illinois safe from the destructive practice of fracking. She became involved in fracktivism after learning about risks to water supplies and the devastation the industry causes to rural communities. Her passion for justice is matched by her consistent hard work as an organizer and the intelligence and wisdom she applies in her response to public policy concerns such as fracking. She lives in unincorporated Union county with her two children and partner on a fourth generation family farm, where their only source of water is a deep well that is threatened by fracking.
The biggest issue on my mind at the state level is fracking. Both of these women have been more active on fracking than I have — organizing and participating in protests, letter-writing campaigns, canvassing, strategy sessions, coalition building, and so on. These two women are already doing the work that your state legislators should be doing — protecting you from the many harms associated with fracking and working toward a brighter future for Southern Illinois. If elected, they will continue protecting your health, safety, and other interests in Springfield.
As Shawnee Green Party candidates, they also have good values and positive plans for how to make things better, including a comprehensive plan for improving the state and national economy. The Green New Deal and other Green policies would provide green jobs for the people of Southern Illinois and beyond. These would be quality jobs that provide a healthy, stable future for both the workers themselves and the people of Southern Illinois in general..
By comparison, the Democratic candidates, John Bradley and Brandon Phelps, both look ridiculously ill-equipped to serve our interests in Springfield. They are both active spokesmen for fracking. Their brilliant plan for our region is to poison the land, water, and air that we rely on for eating, drinking, breathing. In the process, they will also shut down a variety of local sources of jobs such as farms, wineries, breweries, tourism, and more. Under Bradley and Phelps, we would also miss out on good solar jobs — a tremendous growth industry! — that are currently going upstate because our representatives aren’t trying to bring them to Southern Illinois. If no one challenges these two men, they will use that lack of opposition as evidence that everyone in their district wants fracking — and the boom-and-bust cycle of poverty and sickness that goes with it.
The choice is clear. For the sake of stopping fracking in Illinois, and for the sake promoting green jobs and healthy futures for our children, I urge you to vote for Catherine Talbott and Tabitha Tripp if you are in their district.
Yes, they’re both write-in candidates. If that has you hesitating, consider this:
- Write-in candidates have won elections before. It can happen again.
- Turnout tends to be lower at so-called “midterm elections”. The voters who do turn out tend to focus on gubernatorial and congressional races. It wouldn’t take much to turn the tide in these state rep races.
- Even if your write-in candidate doesn’t win, garnering a large share of the votes will indicate strong support for change. Politicians in Springfield may start listening to the parts of Southern Illinois that they tend to ignore the most.
- There’s only one candidate on the ballot in your district. Even if your write-in candidate doesn’t win, what harm will it do? You can’t use the spoiler excuse this time.
On November 4, vote for Catherine Talbott in District 117 and Tabitha Tripp in District 118. And please help us spread the word! Your support in the final days of this election cycle can help make their campaigns a success. Get involved and share this message with your friends both online and offline. Together, we can make a difference.