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Your Vote: A Guide to the Nov. 6 Election

A president, state legislators, Cook County officials—Oak Forest has some work to do at the polls Nov. 6.

After what has seemed like years of campaigning, Election Day 2012 has finally arrived. As you prepare to cast your vote for the main event, you should remember there are a number of local races that are likely to have a big impact.

Notable among the contests is the clash over the 1st District Congressional seat, which extends through Lincoln-Way and into rural Will County for the first time thanks to redistricting. Don Peloquin, a New Lenox businessman and mayor of Blue Island, is challenging incumbent Bobby Rush for his U.S. House seat. Peloquin, whose  is running a grassroots effort and hopes the Will County turnout and the votes from Republicans in south Cook County will be enough to overcome the Democrats in Rush's South Side base.

Everything you need to know to make a decision about how to cast your vote can be found on Patch. The links that follow will lead you to candidate profiles and positions, news coverage and candidate blogs.

  • Want to talk on election night? Join our live blog at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Let Patch save you time. Subscribe to Patch via email and get news to your inbox or smartphone for free. Fast signup here. 

LOCAL RACES

State's Attorney: Anita Alvarez (D) vs. Lori S. Yokoyama (R)

Anita Alvarez (D) has taken a heap of criticism during her first term as Cook County State’s attorney, for subpoenaing Northwestern University students’ grades involved with the Innocence Project, and her opposition to appointing a special prosecutor to reexamine the death of David Koschman, who died of head trauma after a confrontation with a Daley family member.

Lori S. Yokoyama (R) is a civil litigator, an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a law degree from DePaul University. Yokoyama is also a faculty member of DePaul University’s College of Law. She has accused the incumbent State’s Attorney for being the “biggest advocate” for Illinois public corruption and says she will introduce legislation to expand RICO statutes to include public corruption in addition to gang crimes.

Clerk of the Circuit Court: Dorothy A. Brown (D) vs. Diane S. Shapiro (R)

Diane Shapiro (R) is making her second run for the Clerk spot against current clerk Dorothy A. Brown (D). Brown drew criticism for her alleged mishandling for her “Jeans Day” fund into which court employees chipped in $2 or $3 for wearing jeans on specially-designated days and receiving cash gifts from employees for her birthday and Christmas. Brown claims to have increased revenue by $365 million and wants to expand her "21st century vision for a court system." Judges and attorneys have lament Brown’s “paper clogged” office and slipshod administrative practices, the Chicago Tribune said.

Chicago North Side Republican Shapiro, a retired county probation investigation officer with 25 years’ experience in the court system, wants to upgrade and modernize the Clerk’s antiquated, computerized court system. She is also said to have made Internet jokes about certain minority groups, the Chicago Tribune said during an endorsement session.

Recorder of Deeds: Sherri Griffith (R) vs. Karen Yarborough (D)

Yarborough is the six-year term state representative for Proviso Township; Griffith is a sales and marketing professional. Both are running to fill the seat left by the retiring Gene Moore.

Board of Review: Dan Patlak (R) vs. Casey Griffin (D)

Cook County suburban voters will be casting votes for incumbent Dan Patlak (R), who is to have brought transparency to the clout-heavy and obscure, 3-person board by spearheading the first Board of Review Annual Report and keeping closing contact with the 27 suburban assessor offices, Patlak's website said.

Casey Thomas Griffin (D) has served as the county Deputy Recorder of Deeds since 1999 and calls himself a "pioneer for bringing government agencies into the 21st century." Griffin is challenging the incumbent.

COOK COUNTY JUDICIAL CANDIDATES

Nearly 60 Cook County judges are up for retention on the Nov. 6 ballot, in addition there are some contested races to fill judicial vacancies. Here are some resources for voters with recommendations from various bar groups:

  • 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.
  • The Chicago Bar Association provides a pocket guide of its judicial recommendations and non-recommendations, as well as a phone app to bring into the voting booth.
  • Illinois Bar Association provides summaries and full judicial evaluations. This information is also shared on VoteForJudges.

Voters are permitted to bring endorsements and sample ballots into the polling booth.

Let Patch save you time. Subscribe to Patch via email and get news to your inbox or smartphone for free. Fast signup here. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Republicans are pushing hard to make House Speaker Mike Madigan and the Democratic majorities in the General Assembly an issue. In the Chicago Southland, the GOP challengers are a mix of first-time office seekers and candidates who've battled the Democratic Machine in the past.

19th Senate: Michael Hastings (D) vs. Edgar Montalvo (R)

Edgar Montalvo, a Frankfort Square Park District board member, is running for the first time and stayed on the ballot after a judge threw out a challenge to his candidacy. Michael Hastings, a Democrat, is a school board member, son of Orland Hills Mayor Kyle Hastings and secured an endorsement from Tinley Park's Republican mayor.

14th Senate: Emil Jones III (D) is running unopposed. 

15th Senate: Napoleon Harris (D) is running unopposed. 

30th House: Will Davis (D) is running unopposed.

38th House: Al Riley (D) is running unopposed. 

REFERENDA

State Constitutional Amendment: Also on the ballot is an amendment to the state constitution that would require a three-fifths majority for any government body to change its pension system. Both conservative and liberal lobbying groups have lined up against this amendment, saying it's bad policy and doesn't address the problems with the state's pension burdens.

CONGRESS

Two congressional races in northern Illinois are must-watch contests. Democrat Tammy Duckworth's bid to unseat Rep. Joe Walsh, a Tea Party favorite, in the north suburbs has drawn a lot of national attention and out-of-district financial support. And in the west suburbs, Rep. Judy Biggert is trying to stay in the House and fend off Bill Foster, a former one-term congressman trying to return to Washington, D.C., but the latest polling shows them in a dead heat.

Closer to home, GOP challenger Don Peloquin faces more of an uphill battle against entrenched inner-city Democrat Bobby Rush. 

1st District: Bobby Rush (D) vs. Don Peloquin (R)

Redistricting has added more Republican territory to 1st District, but Democrats drew the map and Bobby Rush still has a significant stronghold of inner-city voters. Blue Island Mayor Don Peloquin, who owns a New Lenox funeral home, sees an opportunity here and has been waging a grassroots campaign.

The latest headlines in this race include:

  • Area Mayors Make Calls Supporting Peloquin for Congress
  • People for Peloquin blogs on Patch

Voting Info

Contact Numbers

Cook County Clerk David Orr's office will be fielding calls from voters now and until the polls close on March 20. The Clerk's Office provides the following phone numbers:

  • Election information, polling place location and other voter services (automated directory), 312-603-0906
  • Voter verification, 312-603-0239
  • Election information (Spanish), 312-603-6767
  • Election information (Chinese), 312-603-6769
  • Election information (Polish), 312-603-6770
  • Disabled voters (hospitalized voters, curbside voting), 312-603-0929
  • TDD (hearing impaired), 312-603-0902

Reporting Voter Fraud

To report voter fraud and other irregularities, call the Cook County Clerk's office at 312-603-0236.

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