Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel isn’t the only one who’s opted not to run again. In less than two months, Illinoisans will elect a new attorney general for the first time in 16 years as Lisa Madigan eyes the exit. We might have a new governor and we’ll be voting on three other statewide offices. We’ll certainly have scores of new or relatively new state lawmakers as many incumbents have called it quits in the aftermath of the two-year state budget impasse.

The election in November and the Chicago election in February will be pivotal. It’s incumbent on all of us as citizens to start preparing to vote and that job never is easy.

Not sure who’s running for what and what questions will be on your ballot? Many county clerk websites, the site, and the League of Women Voters of Illinois site coming in October,, soon will include features that will allow you to plug in your address and get an early look at exactly what is on your ballot.

Candidate’s campaign ads frequently stretch the truth or mislead, and there often are ads paid for by dark-money groups not coordinated with campaigns. For those reasons, it’s best not to ever rely on them to make up your mind. If you do tune them in, please be sure to swallow a full heaping of skepticism along with them.

Where can you turn for reliable information? Here are some tools and thoughts to consider as you take on the task of making sure you cast the best-informed votes you can.

Read the rest of Madeleine Doubek’s column at the Chicago Sun-Times.