The presidential race and some competitive Congressional and state legislative races have gotten most of the attention this election cycle, but Illinois voters also have to make choices about who they want to be judges. There are scores of appellate and circuit court spots on the ballot. President of the Illinois State Bar Association John Thies says it can be difficult for voters to know if judicial candidates are qualified. So the Bar Association does the heavy lifting for them. It polls attorneys, and evaluates candidates' questionnaires:
"We want judges to be fair and impartial of course. But we also want them to be clear and concise. We want them to have strong communication skills. We want them to be patient, courteous. We want them to have respect for others. Obviously they should be ethical and have great integrity."
Thies says the state bar association would prefer a panel of experts select judges based on merit. Until that time, he says the evaluations can help voters who want to be informed when they cast a ballot.
The evaluations are available online at I-S-B-A-dot-org.
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