Wednesday, January 16, 2008

ILLINOIS JUDICIAL ELECTION GUIDE NOW ON-LINE

A non-partisan guide to candidates running for seats on Illinois supreme, appellate and circuit courts is available at www.ilcampaign.org.

“Most voters say they have too little information about candidates for judicial office, and many voters are surprised to see any judicial candidates on their Election Day ballots,” said Cynthia Canary, Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR).

“This on-line voters guide will give voters a chance to find out who is running, consider their qualifications and find out why these candidates say they merit support,” Canary said. “The guide also reports the evaluations of the bar associations and provide links for voters to find out more information about the candidates.”

This is the fourth election cycle that ICPR has produced the Illinois Voters’ Guide, which can be accessed from the main ICPR website (www.ilcampaign.org) and is available at www.illinoisvotersguide.org.

There are 185 candidates seeking election to 62 vacancies at all levels of the judiciary. There are 34 contested Democratic primaries and 13 contested Republican primaries.

The Democratic primary race for a 5th District Appellate Court seat has received the most news media attention and likely will attract the most campaign contributions of any judicial primary contest in Illinois this year. The two competing candidates are Judy Cates, an attorney who lives in Swansea, and James M. Wexstten, a circuit court judge residing in Mt. Vernon who was appointed to a vacancy on the 5th District Appellate Court last year. The 5th District includes 37 counties in the southern one-third of Illinois. There are also contested Appellate Court primaries for two seats in the 1st District, which is Cook County, and an uncontested primary for a Supreme Court seat in the 1st District.

All judicial candidates on the primary ballot were invited to participate in the on-line guide. In addition to biographical information, the candidates were asked to respond to two general questions about the administration of justice in Illinois, and their unedited responses are in the guide.

Visitors to the Illinois Voter’s Guide site also will find links to the websites of several bar associations in Illinois, the Illinois State Board of Elections, the official site of the Illinois Courts and reform organizations.

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