You won’t have to worry about politics getting mixed up with presents in future Illinois primaries.

You won’t have to worry about politics getting mixed up with presents in future Illinois primaries. Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill last week that puts primary elections back in March, their historical home.

Although we would have preferred the primaries even later in the year, the March date is much better than the February primaries we’ve dealt with the last few years.

The 2008 Illinois primary was scheduled for March 18, but legislators changed it to Feb. 5 to give a boost to Barack Obama’s presidential bid.

In past presidential campaigns, the candidates were decided before Illinois residents went to the polls. Obama did win Illinois, but the state’s vote didn’t prove decisive in the nomination, so the move to a February primary did not serve its intended purpose.

There was no reason to keep the primary in February after 2008, but lawmakers didn’t make the change until this legislative session.

The February primary made it difficult for voters to keep track of campaigns. We barely had time to unwrap our Christmas presents before we were bombarded with materials from candidates. March gives voters a breather after the holidays.

Voter turnout is abysmal for primaries no matter what the date, but voters will have a little bit more time to study the candidates.

Rockford Register Star