RACE: Cook County Clerk

About the Candidate

Name: Karen A. Yarbrough
DOB: Aug. 22, 1950
Occupation: County Clerk
Political Experience: 12 years state Rep. - 7th District; 6 years Cook County Recorder; 3 years County Clerk
Facebook: Karen Yarbrough for Clerk

Candidate Statement

Hi, I’m Karen Yarbrough, your Cook County Clerk.

As Clerk, I have a wide range of responsibilities, which include serving as the Chief Election Authority for suburban Cook County, and administering all county Vital Records.

In 2020, my office assumed all duties of the former Recorder of Deeds Office and we now effectively manage the recording of property documents in the entire county.  

In our Elections Unit, we have focused on improving operations at all levels --- with special emphasis on Cybersecurity, and promoting transparency and integrity in our elections. 

During this my first term, we have completely modernized the voting process – including acquiring new equipment, including a new voters management system, and e-poll books.

We have also worked very hard to expand access to the ballot.  Because, in my view, when you give a person the power to vote, you can change their lives.

We now offer voters ballots in 12 different languages. What this does is ensures that every voter in our diverse communities can have their voices heard at the polls.  We are also proud to be the only large election jurisdiction in the nation that conducts in-person voting for pre-trial detainees at Cook County Jail.

So, you can see, the Clerk’s Office provides many vital services for our citizens that impact their daily lives and we take this responsibility very seriously. I have worked to enhance our service through the principles of Accuracy, Efficiency, and Advocacy.

Our strong commitment to the work that we do - and service to other shines bright.  And I hope to continue to bring that to the people of Cook County. 

Thank you.

Candidate Q&A

Why are you running?

I’ve made a lot of progress during my first term as Clerk such as full implementation of assuming of the Recorder of Deeds office, and various processes that help the public-facing office run smoothly. Completely upgraded the process for Cook County voters including acquiring new voting equipment and a new voter registration system. Expanded access to the ballot by having voting in the jails for pre-trial detainees. Also, expanded access to the ballot by offering a total of twelve languages on the ballot.

What does this office do well, and what needs fixing?

We address problems but more than that we are proactive on addressing problems before they happen. We are ramping up our outreach to constituents to address election misinformation and promoting our office as the trusted source for information.

What is the most pressing issue facing your constituents and how do you plan on addressing it?

Please see #2

What specific steps would you take to ensure your office is accessible and responsive to your constituents?

We are constantly reviewing our processes and reaching out to our constituencies through outreach, social media and the website.