Released On 10/21/2015

Eight Chicago residents have qualified as candidates for the open Republican seat on the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, Chief Cook County Circuit Judge Timothy C. Evans announced today.


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 must have one Democrat, one Republican and one member from any political party. The current opening is the Republican seat. The qualified candidates are (in alphabetical order):


·        Thomas M. Battista, attorney at the Law Offices of Thomas M. Battista

·        William J. Kresse, attorney and professor at Governors State University

·        Joseph A. Morris, attorney at Morris & De La Rosa

·        Lynne R. Ostfeld, attorney at Lynne R. Ostfeld P.C.

·        Lee Roupas, DuPage County Assistant State’s Attorney

·        Mary Jo Strusz, attorney and City of Chicago Administrative Law Officer

·        A. Christine Svenson, attorney at Svenson Law Offices

·        Lori S. Yokoyama, attorney at Yokoyama & Associates


The candidates’ application forms can be found at Printed versions of the applications and supporting documents may be viewed in person, by appointment, in the Office of the Chief Judge, Room 2600 of the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 W. Washington St. To schedule an appointment to review the applications and supporting documents in person, contact either Pat Milhizer at (312) 603-5160 or Rose Mary Marasso at (312) 603-6553.

Chief Judge Evans will interview all eight candidates and select one candidate to submit to the Circuit Judges of the Cook County Circuit Court for approval. To join the board, the candidate needs the approval of a majority of the Circuit Judges. The interviews will begin in the first week of November, and the decision of the Circuit Judges is anticipated later in November.

The court also received other applications by the October 8 deadline, but applicants were deemed unqualified if they didn’t meet the position requirements or failed to submit complete application packages. Though all of the qualified candidates are attorneys, a law license is not a requirement to join the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

The current Republican vacancy on the three-member board is due to the April 2015 death of Commissioner Richard A. Cowen.  The Board of Election Commissioners has informed the Chief Judge’s Office that another vacancy will occur when Election Board Chairman Langdon D. Neal steps down after the current Republican appointment is made.

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.  

For the Republican vacancy, the balance of the term will end on November 30, 2015, and the appointee will continue a full three-year term beginning December 1, 2015, and ending November 30, 2018.



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