Non-partisan elections are based on the following principles:
- Every qualified citizen should be free to run for office without the approval or support of any organized group.
- Voters should have opportunities to know the candidates and understand the issues.
- Local issues are local. They should not be obscured by state or national issues or by the motives of distant powers.
- Candidates in a local election should be free of pressure from any special interest group. They should be obligated only to the citizens of their community.
Those ideals were first put to work in town meetings in early America. Today, the system is well known as non-partisan local elections.
A Park Forest Tradition
Non-Partisanship has been a tradition in Park Forest since 1949. In 1955 the Committee for Non-Partisan Local Government in Park Forest was established as a not-for-profit organization. The all volunteer Committee works toward two goals:
- To make it convenient for any legally qualified resident to run for public office at little expense and regardless of race, creed, sex, age, or political party.
- To give Park Forest voters the opportunity to hear all candidates and ask them questions at open meetings.
As a result of the Committee’s work, every voter has ample opportunity to become informed about all local candidates and issues. Every citizen has the opportunity to run for office without the approval of any political organization and without having to fight against the organized power of any political group. The non-partisan system has worked so well in Park Forest that it has been respected by nearly all political party representatives.
How Non-Partisan Elections Work
You or any other qualified citizen of Park Forest may run as an independent within the non-partisan system. Any independent candidate simply circulates nominating petitions, obtains the required number of qualified signatures, and files them at the Park Forest Village Hall.
Each candidate then writes a statement of personal qualifications and views on the local issues. The Committee for Non-Partisan Local Government prints the statements and distributes them to all Park Forest residents who attend candidate meetings. Candidates are asked to agree to the Committee’s “Guidelines on Non-Partisanship Campaign Practices,” copies of which are available from the Committee.
The Committee plans and organizes a series of public meetings, coffees, and other forums which permit all the candidates to speak to the voters face-to-face. Volunteer moderators conduct the meetings, assuring each candidate an equal opportunity to become known to the voters. All of this work is done at no cost to the candidates.
What The Committee Does Not Do
The Non-Partisan Committee does not seek or endorse candidates for office. It does not require candidates to participate in Committee forums or meetings or to sign the “Guidelines on Non-Partisanship Campaign Practices.” It does not work for or against issues.
The Committee does not prohibit any political party candidate from running for office nor does it prohibit political parties or any other group from supporting a candidate. However, candidates and their supporters should take into consideration that political party involvement in local elections is not consistent with non-partisanship.
How You Can Participate
You can take part in the non-partisan system in a number of ways:
- You can run as an independent candidate for the Village offices of President, Village Trustee, or Library Board Trustee.
- You can become a member of the Committee for Non-Partisan Local Government
- As a Committee member you can take part in Committee meetings or work on sub-committees and projects.
- You or any non-political organization in the Village can host a candidate meeting.
- Support non-partisan elections in Park Forest. Complete the membership/donation in our brochure….