To the Editor:
On Tuesday, November 4, Illinois voters will have an opportunity to cast their ballots in the general election. In addition to voting for candidates for national and statewide offices, they will have a chance to vote for judges.
Learning about the judicial candidates can be difficult, and all too frequently, voters choose to skip voting for these candidates rather than take the time to learn about them. That’s unfortunate because judges have a huge impact on our lives. They strive to ensure that the law is fairly imposed, deciding for example who will have custody of your children or whether to punish someone who is convicted of a crime. The best judges are impartial, committed to public service, nonpartisan, empathetic, fair and extremely knowledgeable about the law.
Thankfully, there are ways to learn about judges running for election and retention. Bar association evaluations and newspaper endorsements are reliable, independent and relevant sources of information about the candidates’ qualifications. All candidates for Illinois judicial offices who won in the March 18 primary election have been rated by Illinois State Bar Association evaluations committees, or in a poll of lawyers conducted by the ISBA. Results are available at isba.org/judicialevaluations.
In counties outside Cook, the advisory poll is conducted by mail and is sent to all ISBA members in the circuit or district from which a candidate seeks election. Licensed attorneys who are not members of ISBA, or any attorney outside the circuit or district, may request a ballot. Opinions expressed in the poll are of those attorneys who chose to respond and do not reflect the opinion of the Illinois State Bar Association or the opinion of all Illinois attorneys.
We urge everyone to review the ratings, then vote for judicial candidates who are truly the most qualified. Download the results and take them into the voting booth with you. Rest assured that the ratings will provide an excellent guide.
Richard D. Felice, President
Illinois State Bar Association