Cook County Clerk Karen A. Yarbrough has received the nation’s top professional achievement for election officials, joining more than 60 of her colleagues from across the country to be designated as a Certified Elections Registration Administrator (CERA).
Yarbrough obtained the CERA designation following a multi-year course of study taught by Auburn University’s Master’s in Public Administration faculty and conducted by the Election Center’s Professional Education Program. She was one of 69 officials to receive the designation in a graduation ceremony held Tuesday in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Tim Mattice, Director of the Election Center, said the intent of the program is to professionalize the management of voter registration and elections administration in promoting and preserving public trust in the democratic process.
“Obtaining and maintaining CERA status means that Clerk Yarbrough has committed to a career-long process of continuing education to improve the electoral process in Illinois and the nation,” said Mattice.
“This is the highest designation available to elections and voter registration officials and Cook County is fortunate to have her as one of the top designated professionals in America.”
“I am honored to be receiving this tremendous professional achievement, which comes at a crucial time in our democracy when integrity and leadership matter the very most,” said Yarbrough.
The CERA Professional Education Program is sponsored by the Election Center, a national non-profit association of voter registrars, elections administrators and providers of election services throughout America and the U.S Territories. Its membership is comprised of township, city, county and state elections officials and other election-related organizations.
The Center’s primary purpose is to promote and support continuous improvement in the administration of elections and voter registration through research, professional education, conferences, networking, and consulting.
As Clerk of Cook County, Yarbrough leads one of the largest unified Clerk’s offices in the nation, serving as the Chief Election Authority for suburban Cook County. In that role, her office provides all voting information and services to the public including voter registration, mail voting, early voting, and election day voting.
“In my role as Clerk, I have made election integrity a top priority, as well as working to expand access to the ballot as far and wide as possible. I know that my work as Clerk will be enhanced by the lessons learned in this program and in continuing relationships and education with other election officials across the nation,” added Yarbrough.