Today, metro-east residents will choose leaders for jobs close to home: mayors, councilmen, township officials and school board members, among other officeholders.
Voters in some communities will decide questions that affect their pocketbooks such as whether to increase property taxes in O'Fallon School District 90 or whether to roll them back in the Collinsville Area Recreation District.
In all, more than 1,000 candidates have their names on ballots in the metro-east. More than 200 contested races and referendums will be decided.
But despite the vastness of the election, most registered voters probably won't bother to vote. Historically, the turnout for local elections is lower than it is in a statewide or presidential election.
That's too bad, because not only are these positions important to people's day-to-day lives but every vote truly does matter. Local races are often decided by a handful of votes. Sometimes the margin isn't even that wide. In 2007, two candidates tied for Swansea trustee; the winner ultimately was decided by the toss of a coin.
The candidates have spent months knocking on doors and handing out campaign literature because they are passionate about making their communities better. Don't risk the regret of having your preferred candidate lose because you didn't take a few minutes to vote.