Respect, courtesy should not be on the ballot

If there’s one thing the past 10 months have taught us, it’s patience.

We learned patience when we were told, after staying home for two weeks in March, that we would have stay home longer in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. A lot longer.

We learned patience on Nov. 4 and in the days that followed as we waited to see who would be the next president of the United States.

We learned patience this week as votes were counted in the Georgia Senate run-off, with the Senate majority hanging in the balance.

Of course, some learned the lesson better than others.

Patience will come in handy, we anticipate, as we get closer and closer to the April 6 election.

Twenty-two candidates find themselves in contested elections. Five are running for three, four-year seats on the Community Consolidated District 181 Board, with two vying for a two-year term. Five individuals are seeking four open seats on the Hinsdale Public Library Board.

And, in the most hotly contested race, 10 people are hoping to be elected to one of four open seats on the Hinsdale High School District 86 board.

Voters will need patience to really get to know these individuals and their positions before heading to the polls. And this will be an even more challenging year in which to get to know them, with restrictions on public gatherings likely to be in place for some time.

We have yet to finalize our election coverage, but it’s likely to begin at the end of this month or in early February. We’ll try to present as much information as we can to help voters make a decision, from articles about the major issues facing each of the boards to short bios about each of the candidates to charts listing their positions on the issues.

We will not, as we have in the past, be able to hold an in-person candidates night. We are committed to finding a way to allow voters to hear from the candidates in their own words. We will keep you posted on how we plan to do so.

Elections on the national and state level seem to become more and more divisive with each cycle. We hope that will not be the case here at home.

We encourage voters — and candidates — to remember a few points during the weeks preceding April 6. First of all, these are volunteer positions.

Board members do not earn a salary for spending hours upon hours attending meetings — and even more time preparing for them — over the next four years.

Second, these are nonpartisan elections. The heated rhetoric that often exists between the two parties has no place in a school or library board race.

Third, the men and women seeking office are your neighbors. They might have different ideas on how best to run the school district, but they do not deserve to be villainized.

Many spend significant time lamenting the state of politics these days and the seemingly lost ability to agree to disagree. We hope voters and candidates here can set an example in this election, treating those with different opinions with the respect we all deserve.