Cook County treasurer sounds alarm over low voter turnout amid crucial referendums

Tuesday's primary ballot is packed with dozens of referendums, likely impacting your district directly. 

For instance, if you reside in Lockport in Will County, you'll be voting on a referendum to approve $85 million in school-building bonds. In suburban Cook County, Thornton Township residents will be asked to approve a tax of up to 0.15 percent for constructing mental health facilities and services. 

Cook County residents will also have their say on a real estate transfer tax, potentially lowering taxes for properties valued at $1 million or less and raising them for properties exceeding $1 million.

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas expressed concern about the low voter turnout anticipated for this primary, despite the significant impact of these referendums on a broader population. Pappas recently commissioned a study revealing that only a small percentage of people vote on these referendums. She urges all voters to take note and participate.

"Don't come into my office complaining about the fact that you don't like what's happening in the city. You don't like the mayor — did you vote? You don't like the elected officials — did you vote? You don't like the fact that your property taxes went up — did you vote? And the vast majority of people, the vast majority of people, like 70 percent, aren't going to show up tomorrow," said Pappas.

Pappas emphasized that there are 14 referendums totaling $152 million on the ballot Tuesday, alongside another $100 million associated with the Chicago transfer tax question. This amounts to $252 million in decisions awaiting voters' input. 

She hopes this staggering figure will motivate more people to exercise their right to vote.