The qualified candidates are (in alphabetical order):
- Robert W. Bertucci, Cook County Circuit Judge;
- Fred Fortier, attorney at Fortier Law Offices and general manager of Galena Development;
- Dick Simpson, political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago;
- Thomas E. Soule, attorney;
- Jonathan T. Swain, chairman of the City of Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals and president of Kimbark Beverage Shoppe;
- Betty Tsamis, attorney at Tsamis Law Firm P.C.; and
- Sean Vinck, director of Enterprise IT Transformation and senior legal adviser for the State of Oregon.
FWIW readers may recall that Professor Simpson once served as Alderman of Chicago's 44th Ward (from 1971-1979). The Chicago Reader's Ben Jarovsky has a post up about Simpson's application. Judge Bertucci was first elected from the 14th Subcircuit in 1992; he was most recently retained in 2010.
Under a state statute, the composition of the three-member board is to include one member from the state’s two leading political parties. Currently, the board has one Democrat and one Republican. The current opening is not limited to any political party, but all of these candidates are identified as Democrats.
The current vacancy occurred when Election Board Chairman Langdon D. Neal informed Chief Judge Evans that he would step down at the end of this month. Another vacancy on the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners was filled last month when William J. Kresse was appointed as the Republican commissioner. The third (Democratic) commissioner is Marisel A. Hernandez.
Under state law, vacancies are filled by the Circuit Court where the Election Board is located. The Cook County Board has set Chicago Board of Election Commissioner salaries at $77,798 annually. Commissioners serve three-year terms.
The commissioners manage voter registrations; safeguard the rights of all voters to cast ballots independently in a safe and quiet atmosphere, free of interference or intimidation; and inform voters of all of their balloting options, such as Election Day voting, Early Voting and Vote By Mail.
In addition, the board serves as the quasi-judicial arm of the courts and issues decisions when a voter objects to the nominating petitions of a candidate who wants to be on the Election Day ballot. Such offices include Chicago Mayor, Chicago Alderman, Ward Committeeman, City Treasurer, City Clerk and certain Congressional, Illinois Senate and Illinois House of Representatives Districts that fall partly or entirely in the City of Chicago. The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners does not hear challenges to the nominating petitions of Cook County judicial candidates.
For the current vacancy, the balance of the term will end on November 30, 2017, when Neal’s three-year term would have concluded.
The candidates’ application forms can be found at www.cookcountycourt.org.