Get Out the Vote for Wildlife

October 14, 2022

Election Day takes place on November 8, and this year voters will see on their ballots a referendum to protect the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Lincoln Park Zoo urges residents to vote yes in support of the forest preserves—and to encourage others to do the same.

The forest preserves are a vital part of the ecosystem in the Chicagoland area, and one of the oldest and largest forest preserve districts in the country. Since 1914, they have contributed to the quality of life for local citizens by helping to protect air and water quality while reducing local flooding. These areas also provide homes for more than 100 threatened and endangered species.

Deer Grove forest preserve.

The referendum comes in the form of a 0.025 percent property tax increase, which residents will vote to approve or deny. This tiny percentage amounts to less than $1.66 per month for most homeowners. That’s not much, considering the preserves experience 62 million visits per year, which is eight times that of the country’s most popular national park.

In fact, the forest preserves make up more than 70,000 acres of public land (11% of Cook County!) and can be found within five miles of 80 percent of Cook County residents. This makes them an important natural, community, and recreational resource for local citizens. These lands also provide a source of local jobs and scholarships for students; such opportunities will be sustained and improved by this referendum.

Currently, more than 160 environmental, labor, civic, business and faith organizations have signed on to support the Forest Preserves of Cook County in this ballot initiative. If you plan to join them next month, make sure to look at the back of your ballot and vote yes to support clean air, clean water, and wildlife!

Early voting takes place in Cook County from October 24-November 7, and November 3 is the last day you can request an email ballot. In-person voting takes place on Tuesday, November 8, and mailed ballots must be postmarked by that date as well. Visit your local Board of Elections website for additional information.

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