Chief Judge Evans announces new election commissioner

Released On 11/18/2015

Court to follow same transparent process for another vacancy


William J. Kresse will join the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, under an appointment approved today by a majority of Circuit Judges of Cook County.

Chief Cook County Circuit Judge Timothy C. Evans submitted Kresse as the nominee to the judges for the Republican position after interviewing eight qualified applicants.


“This crop of candidates presented an excellent challenge: All of them exhibited the talent and temperament needed to perform the job,” Chief Judge Evans said. “Ultimately, I selected Mr. Kresse because he can hit the ground running in this new role. He possesses a depth of experience with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, a sharp legal mind, and a passion for fairness and accuracy in our election process.”

Kresse will fill the open Republican seat on the three-member board that resulted due to the death of former Commissioner Richard A. Cowen. Kresse is an attorney and professor at Governors State University. He is a certified public accountant and certified fraud examiner.

He has served as an election central attorney for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners since 1992 and as a hearing officer for the board since 2010. He has also served as a hearing officer for the Cook County Officers Electoral Board since 2012.

Kresse is also a member of the bar of the following courts: U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois; 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; U.S. Tax Court; U.S. Court of Federal Claims; U.S. Court of Military Appeals; Illinois Supreme Court; and District of Columbia Court of Appeals. His law experience also includes working at Gleason, McGuire & Shreffler, 1991-1992; Ross & Hardies, 1990; law clerk to U.S. District Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz, 1987-1990; and Hinshaw & Culbertson, 1985-1987.

“I want to thank Judge Evans not just for selecting me, but for opening up this process the way he has, which I think is a great advancement in selecting a true, independent, fair Board of Elections for the City of Chicago,” Kresse said. “I am committed to seeing that the people of the City of Chicago have a fair, free and open election process, and I will use all of my experience, education and training to see to it that the people get exactly that. Because as citizens of Chicago, they deserve no less.”

The other seven qualified applicants were: 


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

·        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


In addition, Chief Judge Evans will initiate another application process to fill another seat on the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. Applying for the seat is available to any Chicago voter of any political affiliation. This future vacancy is the result of Election Board Chairman Langdon D. Neal announcing that he will resign from the board on December 31.

Chief Judge Evans plans to use the same open, transparent process for selecting Neal’s successor, which includes advertising for the position for two weeks from November 23 to December 4; posting the qualified candidate names on the court’s website; and allowing anybody to conduct in-person inspections all of the applicants’ application materials, which includes resumes and letters of support.

On November 23, the application for the third seat on the board will be available at under the “Election Commissioner Vacancy” tab. A printed copy can also be obtained, on or after November 23, from the Office of the Chief Judge in the Daley Center, 50 W. Washington St., Room 2600.

All applications will be reviewed by the Human Resources Department of the Office of the Chief Judge to ensure that applicants meet the minimum qualifications. For the vacancy created by Neal’s resignation, applicants must: have resided in the State of Illinois for a period of two years past; be a person of well-known political convictions and of approved integrity and capacity; be a legal voter and resident of the jurisdiction of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners; and not hold any other political office.

Per state law, the board must have one representative from each of the two leading parties in the state. Given that the board will have a Republican and Democrat by the time this vacancy occurs, applicants can be from any political party.


After applications are available on November 23, applications must either e-mailed to; faxed to (312) 603-9932; or mailed or hand-delivered to:


Laura Kelly, Interim Human Resources Administrator

Circuit Court of Cook County

69 W. Washington St. Suite 3300

Chicago, Illinois 60602     


The deadline for submitting an application is 4:30 p.m. on December 4. Only applications completed at the time of submission will be considered.

The submission must include the following: a cover letter to Chief Judge Evans expressing interest in and showing eligibility for the appointment; a resume detailing the applicant’s work experience and history; three letters of reference; and a completed application form.

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.  

Kresse will finish the remainder of Cowen’s term through November 30, and he will continue a full three-year term beginning December 1, 2015, and ending November 30, 2018. For the vacancy created by Neal’s resignation, the appointee would serve the remainder of Neal’s term, which runs through November 30, 2017.

The board elects its own chairman and secretary. The Cook County Circuit Court does not have administrative authority over the board or its operations.



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