Former alderman and current political science professor Dick Simpson has announced he is applying to be a Chicago Board of Elections commissioner, replacing Langdon Neale.
Simpson told NBC Chicago he is interested in applying for the position to help preserve the "integrity of elections." This includes asking the right questions about the safety of using touch screens for voting, Simpson said.
A professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Simpson said he would focus on the level of voter participation for young people.
The three commissioners on the Board of Elections are partly responsible for determining which candidates appear on the ballot. When someone objects to the nominating petitions of a candidate, the commissioners make a decision whether the candidate should be on the ballot. They oversee the ballots for the offices of mayor, alderman, ward committeeman, city treasurer and city clerk, among others. The commissioners are also responsible for managing voter registration and ensuring voters are informed about their voting options.
Simpson is one of seven applicants who qualified as candidates for the position. The other candidates are Robert Bertucci, Cook County circuit judge; Fred Fortier, attorney at Fortier Law Offices; Thomas Soule, attorney; Jonathan Swain, chairman of the City of Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals; Betty Tsamis, attorney at Tsamis Law Firm P.C.; and Sean Vinck, director of Enterprise IT Transformation.
Cook County Circuit Judge Timothy Evans will interview all seven candidates and pick one to submit to the circuit judges of the Cook County Circuit Court for approval. Interviews will begin Dec. 14.
Langdon will step down at the end of December.