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Your Vote: A Guide to the Nov. 6 Election

The go-to guide for all the information Heights residents need to know for Election Day.

For the past several months, you've watched as we followed Jesse Jackson Jr.'s (D) elusive behavior and eventual diagnosis with Bipolar II Disorder—and the responses of opponents Marcus Lewis (I) and Brian Woodworth (R). You've also seen Lewis' critical response to a leaked audio recording of a pastor's phone conversation with Congressman Jackson—and the media. Let's not forget that, among the fray, JJJ has some issues with the FBI looming over his burdened shoulders.

Slightly lesser known has been the race of incumbent Toi Hutchinson (D) against opponent Robert "Tuck" Marshall (R) for the 40th District Senate. For several weeks now, Sen. Hutchinson has been blogging her political progress exclusively on Patch. Marshall is coming back from a loss in the primary for a seat on the Will County Board. Just recently, Marshall introduced his first blog post on Patch.

And of course, our commenters have made it quite clear that nobody's forgotten about the presidential race between President Barack Obama (D) and Mitt Romney (R).

Everything you need to know to make a decision about how to cast your vote can be found on Patch. The links that follow will lead you to candidate profiles and positions, news coverage and candidate blogs.

  • Want to talk on Election Day? Join our live blog at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

LOCAL RACES

Cook County State's Attorney: Anita Alvarez (D) vs. Lori S. Yokoyama (R)

Anita Alvarez (D) has taken a heap of criticism during her first term as Cook County State’s attorney, for subpoenaing Northwestern University students’ grades involved with the Innocence Project, and her opposition to appointing a special prosecutor to reexamine the death of David Koschman, who died of head trauma after a confrontation with a Daley family member.

Lori S. Yokoyama (R) is a civil litigator, an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a law degree from DePaul University. Yokoyama is also a faculty member of DePaul University’s College of Law. She has accused the incumbent State’s Attorney for being the “biggest advocate” for Illinois public corruption and says she will introduce legislation to expand RICO statutes to include public corruption in addition to gang crimes.

Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court: Dorothy A. Brown (D) vs. Diane S. Shapiro (R)

Diane Shapiro (R) is making her second run for the Clerk spot against current clerk Dorothy A. Brown (D). Brown drew criticism for her alleged mishandling for her “Jeans Day” fund into which court employees chipped in $2 or $3 for wearing jeans on specially-designated days and receiving cash gifts from employees for her birthday and Christmas. Brown claims to have increased revenue by $365 million and wants to expand her "21st century vision for a court system." Judges and attorneys have lament Brown’s “paper clogged” office and slipshod administrative practices, the Chicago Tribune said.

Chicago North Side Republican Shapiro, a retired county probation investigation officer with 25 years’ experience in the court system, wants to upgrade and modernize the Clerk’s antiquated, computerized court system. She is also said to have made Internet jokes about certain minority groups, the Chicago Tribune said during an endorsement session.

Cook County Recorder of Deeds: Karen A. Yarbrough (D) vs. Sherri Griffith (R)

Yarborough is the six-year term state representative for Proviso Township; Griffith is a sales and marketing professional. Both are running to fill the seat left by the retiring Gene Moore.

Cook County Board of Review 3rd District Commissioner: Casey Thomas Griffin (D) vs. Dan Patlak (R)

Cook County suburban voters will be casting votes for incumbent Dan Patlak (R), who is to have brought transparency to the clout-heavy and obscure, 3-person board by spearheading the first Board of Review Annual Report and keeping closing contact with the 27 suburban assessor offices, Patlak's website said.

Casey Thomas Griffin (D) has served as the county Deputy Recorder of Deeds since 1999 and calls himself a "pioneer for bringing government agencies into the 21st century." Griffin is challenging the incumbent.

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GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Republicans are pushing hard to make House Speaker Mike Madigan and the Democratic majorities in the General Assembly an issue. In the Chicago Southland, the GOP challengers are a mix of first-time office seekers and candidates who've battled the Democratic Machine in the past.

40th Senate: Toi Hutchinson (D) vs. Robert "Tuck" Marshall (R)

Republican Tuck Marshall, who lost a bid in the primary for a seat on the Will County Board, was slotted by the GOP to challenge incumbent Toi Hutchinson of Olympia Fields, a former Olympia Fields village clerk who was appointed to the seat in 2009.

REFERENDA

Chicago Heights Electrical Aggregation: Shall the City of Chicago Heights have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such a program?

State Constitutional Amendment: Also on the ballot is an amendment to the state constitution that would require a three-fifths majority for any government body to change its pension system. Both conservative and liberal lobbying groups have lined up against this amendment, saying it's bad policy and doesn't address the problems with the state's pension burdens.

CONGRESS

Two congressional races in northern Illinois are must-watch contests. Democrat Tammy Duckworth's bid to unseat Rep. Joe Walsh, a Tea Party favorite, in the north suburbs has drawn a lot national attention and out-of-district financial support. And in the west suburbs, Rep. Judy Biggert is trying to stay in the House and fend off Bill Foster, a former one-term congressman trying to return to Congress, but the latest polling shows them in a dead heat.

Closer to home ... 

2nd District: Jesse Jackson Jr. (D) vs. Brian Woodworth (R) vs. Marcus Lewis (I)

In one of the more surreal contests, Jesse Jackson Jr. hasn't campaigned at all since winning his primary. Instead, he's spent time at the Mayo Clinic being treated for bipolar disorder and time in seclusion at his Washington, D.C., home. Polls suggest he'll win handily, but news about an FBI investigation into his use of campaign funds to decorate his home are prompting complaints among district voters.

The latest headlines in this race include:

  • Audio: South Suburban Pastor Tells of Phone Conversation with Jesse Jackson Jr. 
  • Jesse Jackson Jr. Reaches Out to Constituents by Phone and Seeks Patience
  • Jesse Jackson Jr. Files FEC Spending Disclosure
  • Woodworth: 'We Need to Hear from Jackson'

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