By TAMMY WEBBER
CEDAR POINT, Ill. — Michael Mahar was the big winner in this month’s village election, but it had nothing to do with his popularity. He was the only candidate on the ballot.
He soon had to start calling friends and neighbors in this northern Illinois hamlet of about 260 to find anyone willing to accept an appointment to the other four village commission seats, including mayor.
“It kind of surprised me a little bit” that nobody else ran, said Mahar, who was appointed to the commission two years ago and sees potential in this speck of a place with two taverns, a post office that’s slated for closure and no stoplights. “I love this little town and the people here.”
Cedar Point’s predicament is hardly unique. At election time, small towns and villages across the country find they have more open seats than people interested in running for office. The candidate shortage affects everything from park and library boards to town councils. Theories abound about why: burnout among longtime office holders, young families too pressed for time – perhaps even an eroding sense of community.
It’s not exactly the founding fathers’ idea of representative democracy.