Your Guide to Cook County Ballot Races – Chicago Maroon

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Tomorrow, residents of Hyde Park and Woodlawn will vote on a dizzying 34 races and ballots. Among them are nine municipal elections for Cook County government.

Although less known to the public, these posts hold a lot of power over county operations, from tax collection to infrastructure planning. Likewise, they have rich – and sometimes recent – ​​histories as key anchors for local corruption. Here’s everything you need to know to vote wisely in the Cook County municipal elections.

Constituency polling stations will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8. You can find your polling station by entering your address on the website of the electoral commission. You can register to vote at your polling place on election day by showing two pieces of identification, one of which must have a current home address.

Cook County Board of Commissioners: Chairman and 3rd District

With a $9 billion budget, the Cook County Board of Commissioners manages all county operations, from the county auditor’s office to the zoning appeal board. It is made up of 17 commissioners, each with a four-year term. Cook County Council has made headlines in recent months for piloting a guaranteed income program and for his scramble to fill more than 4,000 county government vacancies due to a national crisis shortage health workers. The Council is also responsible for drawing up the county’s annual budget. This year’s version was published last month.

The board has been solidly led by Democrats throughout the party’s modern history. The question is whether the Republican minority will remain with two members or shrink Even further.

The race for the presidency of the council has become a breaking point for partisan debates on the role of police and public safety in the city. Toni Preckwinkle, a longtime Chicago City Council member and 2019 mayoral runner-up, is running for a fourth term. Against Preckwinkle is former 2nd District Alderman Bob Fioretti, a Republican and practicing attorney whose campaign emphasizes a “tough on crime” platform that promises to bolster police presence in the county. After six unsuccessful bids challenging Preckwinkle as a Democrat, Fioretti is now running as a Republican.

The 3rd District, which represents Hyde Park, Woodlawn and Kenwood, is also up for grabs. Commissioner Bill Lowry, a Democrat who has represented the district since 2018, is running unchallenged.

Cook County Assessor

The task of the Cook County Assessor is simple: convert the land into county revenue. This year’s race pits incumbent Democrat Fritz Kaegi, whose term marked the end of the office’s tenure cottage industry of corruption, against the libertarian Nico Tsatsoulis and the written candidate Clifton Graham Jr.

Kaegi caused a stir in 2018 when it unseated Joseph Berrios, whose overvaluation of large commercial properties shifted the property tax burden onto homeowners. KaegiThe 2021 assessment of property values ​​in Cook County found a more than 50% increase in commercial property values ​​in Chicago, a finding that shifted the tax burden on landlords and renters.

Kaegi confronts Tsatsoulis, a graduate of UChicago’s Booth School of Business and a self-proclaimed “frenzied citizen.” Tsatsoulis opposes tax assessment increases, seeking to limit the tax to one percent of property values, though those rates are set by the county clerk, not the assessor’s office. Clifton Graham Jr., a resident of Country Club Hills, Illinois, is also running as a write-in nominee.

Cook County Clerk

County Clerk Karen Yarbrougha one-term Democrat, is running for re-election against the former county commissioner Tony Peraica (R-16e) and Libertarian Joseph Schreiner.

The Clerk’s Office administers elections throughout Cook County and maintains Cook County records such as birth, death, and marriage certificates. Holder Karen Yarbrough is currently being criticized for violate anti-clientelism laws, unfairly favoring some workers and punishing others, during his first term. She faced the same thing allegations to his previous position, County Recorder of Deeds.

She faces former County Commissioner Tony Peraica, a Republican who seeks to make the office more efficient, and Joseph Schreiner, a libertarian whose platform tracks against COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates. If either candidate is successful, they will be the first non-Democrats to hold the office in more than a century.

Cook County Sheriff

As the county’s top law enforcement official, the sheriff oversees the county’s police and prison systems. They operate the Cook County Jail, coordinate police services throughout the county, and provide security for county and court facilities.

The race saw a chaotic Democratic primary election, with a last-minute ballot change rendering tens of thousands of invalid ballots. Nonetheless, outgoing fourth-term sheriff Tom Dart won the nomination in a landslide with 85% of the primary vote – a supermajority that would have held even if all of the lost ballots had gone to his challenger. Dart’s office expanded mental health care for incarcerated people and launched a co-respondent model which deploys mental health clinicians as well as police officers when responding to mental health episodes.

Dart’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a polarizing issue for the campaign, as his office has faced a civil lawsuit over cramped conditions in county jails. However, the office’s sanitation and social distancing measures are credited with to avoid 30 deaths and 400 cases of COVID-19. His office has also come under FBI scrutiny for allegations of “phantom pay”, although no criminal charges resulted.

Dart takes on Republican Lupe Aguirre, a former Chicago lawyer and police officer. Aguirre operates on a staunchly pro-police platform, criticizing Dart as a “social justice warrior” for the prison reforms his office has overseen.

Cook County Treasurer

The treasurer race pits incumbent Democrat Maria Pappas against Republican Peter Kopsaftis and Libertarian Michael Murphy.

During six terms, Pappas is widely considered to have transformed the position by regularly publishing “Studies of Pappas” that analyze the inequalities of the Chicago property tax system: including analyzes of redliningthe distribution of debt across town, and a property tax loophole that has Cost Chicago $280 million over the past seven years.

Republican Peter Kopsaftis and Libertarian Michael Murphy seek to disrupt his seventh term.

Chicago Board of Review Commissioners

The primary job of the Commissioner of the Board of Revision is to hear property tax appeals. In Cook County, council members are elected from three districts, each representing one-third of the county’s population. High net worth interests have historically wielded outsized influence in the office: today, calls are disproportionate filed by the wealthier north and northwest sides of the county.

The three members of the Board are eligible for re-election. Because the redistricting last year cemented with all three districts being solidly Democratic, the races should not be competitive.

Outgoing District 3 Commissioner Larry Rogers Jr. represents the South Side and is running unchallenged for this election cycle. Rogers is one of three commissioners who violated Cook County’s 2018 codes of ethics in accepting property tax appeals company donations, according to a Chicago Tribune investigation.

Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

A $1.3 billion agency, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District governs all things water in Cook County. This nine-person board is responsible for maintaining water and wastewater infrastructure, treating contaminated waterways, and preventing flooding and pollution. Controlling over 9,000 acres of land, he is the second largest landowner in all of Cook County.

All members are “at-large,” meaning they all represent the entire county rather than a specific region, and serve staggered six-year terms. The council is a decision-making body, so it can set policies for the county and exercise financial control.

This year, four places are up for grabs. One of them is a special election to fill the absence of Debra Shore, who has been asked to fill the position of Region 5 Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. Two people are running to fill that unexpired term: Green Party candidate Toneal M. Jackson, an environmental activist and author, and Democratic Party candidate Daniel Pogorzelski, a former labor organizer and former director of the Avondale Chamber of Commerce. in Illinois.

The other three seats will serve six-year terms as usual. Five people are running for those seats: Republican Cary Capparelli, a businessman who has run four times before, twice as a Democrat and twice as a Republican, whose platform puts the focus on “profitability”; incumbent Democrat Mariyana Spyropoulos, who has served on the council since 2010 and is running for re-election on “fiscal responsibility, transparency and progressive environmental policy”; Green Party candidate Mark Buettner, a sewage treatment operator who names urban flooding as a key campaign issue; Democrat Yumeka Brown, environmental lawyer and small business owner; and Democrat Patricia Theresa Flynn, a village administrator for 12 years in suburban Crestwood, Illinois.

For more information on the court races, please see the local non-profit Watch’s Injustice voter guides.

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