Riverside Township electors voted 14 to 3 at a meeting earlier this year to place a question on the November ballot asking voters whether they support U.S. Troop withdrawal from Iraq. Near West Citizens for Peace and Justice, a political group based in Riverside, led the effort to put the issue before voters.

The ballot question will ask “Shall the United States Government immediately begin an orderly and rapid withdrawal of all of its military personnel from Iraq, beginning with the National Guard and Reserves?”

Similar resolutions will appear before voters in Oak Park, Aurora, Geneva, Downers Grove, DeKalb, Springfield and Champaign. More than 20 Wisconsin cities and towns have already expressed their support for withdrawal.

“What I hope is that the resolution will pass and it will become evident that a majority of the residents in the 3rd Congressional District favor peace,” said Laurel Lambert Schmidt, co-founder of Near West Citizens for Peace and Justice. “It will be another lever to use with our Congressional representative.”

Schmidt has opposed the Iraq War from the beginning.

“The war purported to be a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and it wasn’t so,” she said. “There wasn’t a connection, at least back then, between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein.”

In addition to campaigning for the approval of the November ballot question, Near West Citizens for Peace and Justice is circulating a petition to ask Congressman Daniel Lipinski to support an end to the Iraq War. The group also had a float in Riverside’s annual Fourth of July parade.

?”Alex McLeese