Group Pushes For Better-Informed Votes On Judges

From the Associated Press

One Illinois group wants voters to be better informed about judges, who will be among the lesser known candidates on the November ballot.

The Illinois Civil Justice League on Tuesday is unveiling an initiative to provide biographies, ratings and other background on 158 sitting judges in the state seeking retention and another 69 candidates in contested races for seats on the bench.

Ed Murnane, the president of the organization, said in a statement that it’s critical that the electorate make educated choices about men and women who wield such power and influence.

“Unfortunately, too many people cast their vote on election day with little or no information on their candidates for judge,” he said. “Some close their eyes and pick … others choose not to vote at all.”

The organization, which is a not-for-profit coalition of various citizen, business and professional associations, is kick starting the project with the slogan, “Judges: Good and Bad — You Can’t Afford to be Indifferent.”

The league is posting responses to questionnaires from the candidates seeking retention and from others in contested races on the website, www.IllinoisJudges.net . The group will start including its own reviews of the candidates on the same site in October.

By Illinois law, judges seeking retention must garner “yes” votes from 60 percent of those casting ballots on the question.


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Opinions


Denial Can’t Mask Illinois’ Poor Lawsuit Climate

By Lisa Rickard, President, US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform

Denial is one of the oldest tricks around. When confronted with an uncomfortable situation, one common human instinct is to deny there’s a problem.

Recent commentary (available here and here) by Chicago plaintiffs’ lawyer John Cooney proves this point. As the president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association and one of the state’s leading personal injury lawyers, he is troubled by calls for legal reform in Illinois. His response? Denying that Illinois has a lawsuit abuse problem.

Unfortunately, all of Cooney’s denials can’t change the fact that Illinois has one of the worst lawsuit climates in the nation. The state attracts litigation from around the country, while repelling businesses and the much-needed jobs they create.

In fact, businesses are the best people to ask about which states have good and bad litigation environments. In a survey of in-house business counsel commissioned by my organization, the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), Illinois’s legal climate ranked 46th in the nation-lowest in the Midwest and ahead of only four other states nationally.

In addition, this ranking rated Cook County as the single worst jurisdiction in the country, while Madison County was ranked sixth worst. It should be no surprise that these counties ranked so poorly as they represent classic examples of “jackpot” jurisdictions.

Cook County has become a national hub for personal injury and product liability cases. Meanwhile, Madison County has become the nation’s top jurisdiction for asbestos personal injury lawsuits. With .09 percent of the nation’s population, Madison County accounts for more than 25 percent of the nation’s asbestos lawsuits.

Full Commentary.

News Update


Illinois Ballot Machine Changes Votes From Republican to Democrat

From Town Hall

As liberals and Democrats continue to argue voter fraud doesn’t exist, voting machines in Cook County Illinois are changing votes for Republican candidates to votes for Democrats.

Early Voting in Illinois got off to its typical start Monday, as votes being cast for Republican candidates were transformed into votes for Democrats.

Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan went to vote Monday at the Schaumburg Public Library.

“I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent,” Moynihan said. “You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat.”

So why is this happening? Officials are blaming the problem on a “calibration error” and promised changed votes weren’t actually registered.

Cook County Clerk’s Office Deputy Communications Director Jim Scalzitti, told Illinois Watchdog, the machine was taken out of service and tested.

“This was a calibration error of the touch-screen on the machine,” Scalzitti said. “When Mr. Moynihan used the touch-screen, it improperly assigned his votes due to improper calibration.”

This machine error was visible, what about the changes these machines are making to votes cast for Republicans that aren’t visible? How many registered voters have had their votes and participation in the process stolen as a result of “faulty” machines?

Read more in our daily News Update…