COOK COUNTY, IL — For many voters, judicial races are the most baffling part of the ballot. Many people skip voting for judges out of confusion or randomly select candidates on the ballot knowing very little about them.
In the upcoming March 17 Illinois primary election, judicial candidates are seeking positions on the Illinois Supreme Court, the Illinois Appellate Court and the Cook County Circuit Court. VoteforJudges.org reports the results of 12 bar groups and news group endorsements, which receive information about and evaluate candidates’ performances and recommend whether he or she is qualified to be on the bench.
The decisions a judge makes about family life, education, health care, housing, employment, discrimination, civil rights and public safety can have a lasting impact on our lives. To help you select the most qualified candidates, many of the bar groups compile voting guides to help voters make informed decisions inside the voting booth. It’s more imperative than ever to do the research and only vote for qualified judges.
- VoteForJudges.org offers non-partisan information on all the judicial candidates. The Chicago Appleseed Fund, the creator of the website, does not recommend or not recommend judges, but provides research-based evaluations from over a dozen bar associations. Participating bar associations include: Arab American Bar Association of Illinois, Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area, Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago Area, Cook County Bar Association, Decalogue Society of Lawyers, Hellenic Bar Association, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, Lesbian and Gay Bar Association, Puerto Rican Bar Association, and the Women’s Bar Association,
- VoteForJudges will publish the judicial evaluation results from the bar associations as they become available, as well as the endorsements from the Chicago Tribune.
- The Chicago Bar Association provides a voter’s smart guide of its judicial recommendations and non-recommendations, as well as a phone app to bring into the voting booth. The CBA urges voters to vote only for “highly qualified” (HQ) and “qualified” (Q) judicial candidates.
- Illinois Bar Association provides summaries and full judicial evaluations. This information is also shared on VoteForJudges.
- Chicago Council on Lawyers is a non-partisan, public interest bar group. The CCL’s evaluations are available now on the Council’s website and through VoteforJudges.org.
- IllinoisJudges.Net is maintained by the Illinois Civil Justice League. The ICJL is a coalition of interests in Illinois, including taxpayers, consumers, small businesses, lawyers, doctors, local governments, big businesses, not-for-profit organizations and individual citizens. The coalition fights what it believes to be abuses to the civil justice system. ICJL includes its own ratings, as well as drawing evaluations from bar associations and newspaper endorsements.
- Injustice Watch, a nonpartisan, nonprofit multimedia journalism organization that exposes institutional failures that obstruct justice in Cook County, has also compiled a 2020 judicial voting guide.
Voters are permitted to bring newspaper endorsements, printouts, sample ballots and smart phones to view judicial evaluations in the voting booth.