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Your Vote: A Guide to the Nov. 6 Election

From polling places to Chicago referendums, here's everything you need to know about Election Day.

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.

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 7 p.m. Tuesday or come watch the results with us at the Beer Bistro.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. To see your sample ballot, go to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners website and enter your address. Find out where to vote with this precinct finder

To report any problems or to ask voting questions on Election Day you may call the Board of Commissioners hotline at 312-269-7870.

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

President & Vice President of the United States

  • Barack Obama & Joe Biden (D)
  • Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan (R)
  • Gary Johnson & James P. Gray (Libertarian)
  • Jill Stein & Howie Hawkins (Green)

Illinois Representatives in U.S. Congress

The 5th District covers the entire North Side of Chicago: 

Illinois State Senators

Lincoln Square: District 7

North Center/Roscoe Village, Lakeview, Lincoln Park and parts of Bucktown: District 6

Northern Wicker Park and parts of Bucktown: District 5

Southern Wicker Park: District 2

Representatives in the Illinois General Assembly

Lincoln Square: District 13

East Lincoln Park, Bucktown, Roscoe Village, Northcenter, East Lakeview: District 11

West Lincoln Park, East Lakeview: District 12

Bucktown and parts of south Lincoln Park: District 10 

Wicker Park: District 4

Commissioners for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

(Choose three for a six year term)

Judges (Illinois Supreme, Appellate and Circuit Courts)

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.

Cook County State's Attorney, Circuit Court Clerk and Recorder of Deeds

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.

States 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.

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

Yarbrough 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.

Members of the Cook County Board of Review (tax appeals) 

  • Michael Cabonargi (D-District 2)
  • Larry Rogers, Jr (D-District 3) 

Chicago and State Referenda

State Constitutional Amendment: 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.

For the proposed addition of Section 5.1 to Article XIII of the Illinois Constitution. The proposed amendment would require a 3/5 majority vote of each chamber of the General Assembly, or local government entity, school district, etc., in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system. 

YES/NO

Electrical Aggregation: Like many suburban municipalities, the city is looking to go out to bid to secure lower electricity rates for residents. ComEd would remain the service company. For more information, read 10 Things To Know About Electrical Aggregation Before You Vote.

“Shall the City of Chicago have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?”

YES/NO

Chicago Teacher Pensions: “Should the State of Illinois provide funding for the normal cost of pensions for Chicago teachers in the same manner as the State pays for the normal cost of teacher pensions in every other school district in the state which will free up local Funding that can be invested in the classroom?”

YES/NO

Corporate Campaign Contributions: “Shall the U.S Congress pass a bill, to be duly ratified by three-fourths of the states, adopting an amendment to the U.S Constitution, empowering the federal government and the states to regulate and limit political contributions for corporations?

YES/NO

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