Joseph E. Birkett is an appellate court judge at Illinois Appellate Court. He has been occupying the position of the appellate court since being assigned by the Illinois Supreme Court in December 2010. He afterward won election to the appellate court during the general election in November 2012. His current term will last through December 2022. Prior to being enhanced to the bench, Birkett was the State’s Attorney of DuPage County, where he worked since 1996.
Birkett is one of 10 children. His father died when Joe was 13. He went to St. Phillip High School, and Aurora Central Catholic High School where he was a captain of a football team one of the most important players. He later attended North Central College, where he got a B.A. in Political Science and English in 1977. He got his Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School in 1981.
Birkett received national attention when in 1999 he prosecuted Marilyn Lemak for the murders of her three children.
Volunteering for Joe Birkett campaign for Attorney General was focused on being a poll-watcher for his campaign. My volunteering began the night before when I met with the Birkett’s staff at a bar for his rally at night. I was given all the necessary documents about being a poll-watcher and filled out all the paperwork for the next day.
I learned the rules about to what to do and what not to do. The next day I went to Birkett’s office on the 111th street where I received my tasks for the day. At that time it seemed that there were a lot of issues with voter fraud in the 3rd, 15th and 21st polling districts and I needed to go to the polling places and watch the election judges. Being mostly a Democratic region I was told to call the police if there were any problems, as a poll-watcher was threatened before. This showed me that people were very serious about voting. You never realize it in that I have been voting since I had the right, and you don’t notice it when you go to vote. But when you appear as a supporter of a Republican campaign in a mainly Democratic area, you see how serious the election really is.
At first I went to the 15th polling district on 59th and Pulaski, I noticed some issues in propaganda being closer than 100 linear feet from the door. But one of the election judges said that they measured it from the furthest inside door and showed that it was within the legal limits. At all the polling districts I was visiting to I was supposed to count a number of voting, spoiled ballets, and absentee ballets.
This was my first experience in volunteering and it taught me a lot of new things that I am sure will be useful in future.
Joseph E. Birkett is an appellate court judge at Illinois Appellate Court. He has been occupying the position of the appellate court since being assigned by the Illinois Supreme Court in December 2010. He afterward won election to the appellate court during the general election in November 2012. His current term will last through December 2022.