David Yates Sep. 23, 2014, 2:18pm

CHICAGO – The Illinois Civil Justice League has announced a new initiative it hopes will help educate voters about judicial candidates in the upcoming election.
The initiative, "Judges: Good and Bad-You Can’t Afford to be Indifferent," will examine the qualifications of the 158 sitting judges running for retention and the 69 candidates for judge in Illinois, according to a news release the group issued today.

“While we recognize that judges have the ability to decide our fate on issues such as freedom or incarceration, some can also have a significant impact on our employment status and the economic future of our children,” ICJL President Ed Murnane said in the release.

“With such important issues in the balance, it is critical that the electorate has the opportunity to make informed and educated choices. Unfortunately, too many people cast their vote on Election Day with little or no information on their candidates for judge. Some close their eyes and pick; other choose not to vote at all.”

Starting next month, the ICJL will provide candidate responses to a questionnaire it sent out at illinoisjudges.net as a way to help voters examine the qualifications of judges up for retention and candidates running for judge in the General Election.

“The website also provides biographical information, the current assignment, website and social media links as well as ratings from a variety of bar associations and attorney organizations," Murnane said. "It also includes a search tool which allows voters to easily find the candidates for judge running in their communities."

Murnane said while the judicial branch is often "the most overlooked and misunderstood" branch of government, it is "the most important and most powerful."

“Consider the fact that the judiciary can overturn actions by the legislative and executive branches of government," he said. "With that reality in mind we strongly urge every voter to use Judges: Good and Bad-You Can’t Afford to be Indifferent as a tool when making their choices for judge in the upcoming General Election.”

The ICJL is a coalition of Illinois citizens, small and large businesses, associations, professional societies, not-for-profit organizations and local governments that have joined together to work for fairness in the Illinois civil justice system, according to the group’s website.

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