David Yates Sep. 24, 2014, 3:07pm

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) – The Illinois Civil Justice League has announced a new initiative in hopes of better educating the electorate about choices for judge in the upcoming general election.

The initiative, called "Judges: Good and Bad-You Can’t Afford to be Indifferent," will examine the qualifications of the 158 sitting judges running for retention and the 69 candidates for judge in Illinois, according to a Wednesday press release.

“While we recognize that judges have the ability to decide our fate on issues such as freedom or incarceration, some can also have a significant impact on our employment status and the economic future of our children,” said Ed Murnane, president of ICJL.

“With such important issues in the balance, it is critical that the electorate has the opportunity to make informed and educated choices. Unfortunately, too many people cast their vote on Election Day will little or no information on their candidates for judge. Some close their eyes and pick; other choose not to vote at all.”

ICJL’s initiative, found at illinoisjudges.net, provides candidate responses to a questionnaire examining the qualifications and demeanor of the judges up for retention.

“The website also provides biographical information, the current assignment, website and social media links as well as ratings from a variety of bar associations and attorney organizations. It also includes a search tool which allows voters to easily find the candidates for judge running in their communities,” Murnane said.

In October, the ICJL will begin rolling out the results of its review of judges running for retention and candidates running for judge. The results will be shared ICJL’s website and social media platforms. “The judicial branch of our government is the most overlooked and misunderstood, yet also the most important and most powerful,” Murnane said.

“Consider the fact that the judiciary can overturn actions by the legislative and executive branches of government. With that reality in mind we strongly urge every voter to use Judges: Good and Bad-You Can’t Afford to be Indifferent as a tool when making their choices for judge in the upcoming General Election.”

ICJL is a coalition of Illinois citizens, small and large businesses, associations, professional societies, not-for-profit organizations and local governments that have joined together to work for fairness in the Illinois civil justice system, according to the organization’s site.

Reach David Yates at elections@legalnewsline.com

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