In an effort to address a candidate shortage for the April 2021 election cycle, the Tazewell County Clerk’s office, in collaboration with the Citizens Participation Institute, announced the release Wednesday of the Tazewell County Local Elections 2021 Catalog.


"A collaborative effort of this type hasn’t been done in downstate Illinois before," said Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman. "I believe other counties are going to do it for the same (election) cycle, because they’ve seen our final product and were impressed by the team effort. They’ve reached out to (the Citizens Participation Institute), so I think you’ll see some of our neighboring counties do it as well."


The catalog is a comprehensive guide for citizens to understand the local government positions available as well as the requirements to run for the offices. It was developed by Citizens Participation Institute Director Stan Zegel, who worked for several months with Tazewell County Elections Supervisor Vanessa Reynolds to customize the publication for local elections.


"It’s important because two-thirds of all the offices on the ballot are unopposed," said Zegel. "If someone wants to do public service, this (catalog) tells them what’s available and how easy it is to get on the ballot to do it."


While Ackerman acknowledged that the April 2021 elections lack the prestige of the November general elections, he argued that they will have more impact on Tazewell County residents’ day-to-day lives.


"The positions up in April are vitally important," he stated. "You have mayors, townships, school boards, and park districts. They’re the ones who spend 90% of the property taxes of local resident. It’s not going to be the individuals elected this November, it’s going to be the ones elected next April."


The Tazewell County Local Elections 2021 Catalog has been mailed to all Tazewell County municipalities, Ackerman added. Copies will also be available at Tazewell County’s public libraries or online at www.tazewell.com.