Martinez elected first Latina circuit clerk for Cook County

  • Barbara Ballar, left, and Iris Martinez are candidates for Cook County clerk of the circuit court

    Barbara Ballar, left, and Iris Martinez are candidates for Cook County clerk of the circuit court

  • Dan Patlak and Tammy Wendt are candidates for Cook County Board of Review District 1

    Dan Patlak and Tammy Wendt are candidates for Cook County Board of Review District 1

 
 
Updated 11/4/2020 12:28 AM

Iris Y. Martinez, the Democratic state senator from Chicago, became the first Latina elected Cook County circuit court Clerk, winning the race Tuesday against Republican Barbara Bellar, a physician and attorney from Burr Ridge.

Martinez led with 1,113,079 votes to Bellar's 447,068 votes in unofficial tallies at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

 

Tuesday's unofficial vote tallies do not include mail-in ballots that have yet to arrive. About 338,000 mail-in ballots that had been requested by voters were still unaccounted for in suburban Cook and the collar counties on Tuesday morning. Ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 will be counted if they arrive by Nov. 17.

Twenty-year incumbent Dorothy Brown did not seek reelection. The office is responsible for maintaining the judicial records for one of the nation's largest unified court systems.

Martinez, who has served in the Illinois General Assembly for 18 years and is chairwoman of the Democratic National Convention Hispanic Caucus, promised to clean up and revamp the clerk's office. She also said she will initiate a performance audit and work to make the clerk's office subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.

Cook County Board of Review

In the race for the 1st District seat on the Cook County Board of Review, 10-year incumbent Republican Dan Patlak of Wheeling led late Tuesday with 263,710 votes over Democratic Tammy Wendt, a Palos Heights attorney and licensed real estate broker, who had 235,304 votes.

The board of review hears appeals from homeowners and business owners who believe their property tax assessments are too high. The 1st District stretches from the Northwest suburbs and North Shore to the far South suburbs.

The candidates disagreed over the appropriate qualifications for the office. Wendt said commissioners should be attorneys because they rule on legal issues, uniformity in taxation and exemptions, among other issues. Patlak claimed it's not necessary for a commissioner to have a legal background saying "99% of what the board of review does is financial analysis, it's not the interpretation of law."

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