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Check your judges

Your guide to the 2024 Cook County judicial primary elections

Published February 21, 2024

This was the guide for the March 2024 primary elections. For results from this election, click here. For more reporting on judicial elections and our latest election guide, click here.

Judicial candidates might be among the most obscure names on your ballot, but these elections come with high stakes. Judges are powerful officials whose choices on the bench touch many aspects of life, from traffic tickets to divorces, lawsuits, evictions, and criminal cases. They have the power to take someone’s freedom, enforce or overturn state laws, and correct or perpetuate injustices. Yet there are few places to get information about the people running for judge. That's why Injustice Watch created this guide to judicial candidates running in Cook County’s primary elections on March 19, 2024.

Illinois voters elect judges every two years. This year, 69 candidates are running for 45 judicial vacancies in Cook County. Every voter will get to choose candidates to fill one supreme court seat, four appellate court seats, and 11 circuit court seats. You may also have one or two subcircuit races on your ballot depending on where you live. Judges elected from subcircuits have the same responsibilities as other circuit court judges, but only people who live in that subcircuit can vote for them.

Our team spent months researching the candidates’ legal experience, community involvement, donors, political connections, conduct, and controversies. We sent every candidate a survey asking why they deserve your vote. We don't make recommendations or endorsements. As a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom, we report just the facts, so you can make your own decisions about who you want on the bench.

Here's everything you need to be an informed voter.

Continue scrolling to create your personal voting guide, or click here for a searchable list of all the candidates and races.

First, help us find your judicial district

Cook County is divided into 20 judicial subcircuits. Use one of the following methods to find your subcircuit:

Chicago voters, click here.

Suburban Cook County voters, click here.

Cook County judicial subcircuits

Next, review your races and pick your candidates

Click Infonotes to learn more about each candidate. Then, select the candidates you intend to vote for. Your choices will be remembered even if you close your browser.

In the next section you'll be able to create a report with your choices that you can take with you to your polling place.

You have not selected a subcircuit. There may be races relevant to you that are not shown.

Supreme Court races

The supreme court is the highest court in Illinois. Its seven justices serve ten-year terms, and three justices are chosen exclusively by Cook County voters. In addition to ruling on cases decided on by the lower courts, the supreme court appoints judges to fill vacancies, creates the rules that courts must follow, and oversees attorney licensing and discipline.

Appellate Court races

Appellate court judges rule on appealed cases originally decided by the circuit courts. They serve 10-year terms.

Circuit Court races

Circuit court judges hear all kinds of cases, from traffic tickets to personal injury to child welfare to criminal cases. They are the front line of the justice system. They serve six-year terms.

Finally, save a report to take to the polling station

Customize using the options below. When you're ready, select Preview document, and if you're satisfied with the result, save the document to your device.

Note: After you've generated the initial preview, the document will update automatically if you change your votes in the previous sections.

Preview will appear here

Do you find our guide useful?

Please share it with your friends, family, and colleagues! Follow our coverage and join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #CheckYourJudges.

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