Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough hospitalized

Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough has been hospitalized with an undisclosed illness, her government spokesperson said Tuesday.

Yarbrough, 73, has a “serious medical condition and is currently undergoing medical treatment,” her deputy clerk of communications Sally Daly, said. “Her family is requesting privacy, and we ask for prayers for the Clerk and her family at this difficult time.”

Daly did not say when Yarbrough was hospitalized or whether the clerk had been working during the recent primary election, but sources said she had been at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood for several days.

In addition to managing suburban elections, the clerk’s office is in charge of certain property tax and business records, legislation at the Cook County Board and vital records such as marriage and birth certificates.

Cedric Giles, Yarbrough’s chief deputy clerk, “is managing the day-to-day operations of the office” in Yarbrough’s absence, Daly said.

Yarbrough was elected as the county’s first African American and female clerk in 2018 and was reelected in 2022 when she easily defeated Republican Tony Peraica.

She was previously the Cook County recorder of deeds from 2012 until 2018 when that office merged with the clerk’s office. She was also a state representative from 2001 through 2012 and assistant majority leader in the Illinois House of Representatives.

A fixture in the Democratic Party and political powerhouse in her home Proviso Township, Yarbrough’s husband Henderson Yarbrough is the former mayor of Maywood.

She served as vice chair of the Illinois Democratic Party under her ally former House Speaker Mike Madigan and she filled in as interim chair of the state Democratic Party when Madigan resigned from the House in 2021. She is the current treasurer of the Cook County Democratic Party.