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There were long lines this morning for early voting in Chicago.  Actually, they weren't that long, but they moved very slowly.  

The fact is the section for judges takes forever.  I had my trusty recommendations printed out, and it still took forever. The format on my printouts didn't match the ballot and neither were alphabetical.

More below the hurricane spaghetti model.

Most districts have actual sample ballots available online.  I recommend printing out your actual sample ballot, for your state/county/district/ward/etc., and making your selections there before heading to the polling place.

This will also help to make sure you are not surprised by any of the referendum questions.  We usually know about the big ones, but there are often some more obscure questions on the ballot that could have a huge impact on things like school funding and public employee pensions.  Research these, sometimes the wording could lead you to vote the wrong way.  These are important.

In Illinois, judges are subject to periodic retention votes. To remain on the bench, they must receive a "yes" vote from 60% of the voters to retain their seat. A quick internet search will lead to the recommendations of several organizations on which judges should be retained. Pick the organization or publication that you most trust, and use their recommendations and compare them to your sample ballot.

If you do not have the time or the inclination to research judges, skip that section. It won't disqualify the rest of your ballot. In Illinois, it is far more likely that an unqualified judge will be retained than it is a good judge won't be.

Whatever the case, be sure to vote!  Have fun out there, it's almost over.

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