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Illinois group pushes for better-informed votes on judicial candidates on November ballot

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CHICAGO — 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, http://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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