Karen A. Yarbrough is the first African American and woman to serve as the Clerk of Cook County. In her capacity as Clerk, Ms. Yarbrough oversees one of the most extensive consolidated Clerk’s offices in the United States. She serves as the Chief Election Authority for suburban Cook County. In December of 2020, under Clerk Yarbrough’s Office assumed all official duties of the former Recorder of Deeds Office and now manages the recording of all deeds, property documents and business forms for all of Cook County. The Clerk also maintains and administers all Cook County Vital Records including births, marriages, civil unions, and deaths. She plays a crucial role in the property tax system, maintaining delinquent tax records, tax maps, and information regarding TIF Districts. As the Clerk of the Cook County Board, she prepares board agendas, post meeting reports, and official County Board Records. The Veteran Services Division is maintained in the Clerk’s office which provides a free recording of veterans DD-214 Military Discharge papers as well as a Military and Veterans Discount Card that offers all active duty military, national guard/reservists, and veteran reduced costs and benefits from hundreds of Cook County businesses.
Before she was elected Clerk, Ms. Yarbrough served as the cook county recorder of Deeds and established herself as a national leader in efforts to confront property fraud and advocate for property owners.
A former State representative and Assistant Majority Leader in the Illinois H0use of Representatives, Ms. Yarbrough has a B.A in Business Management from Chicago State University and an M.A. in Inner City Studies from Northeastern Illinois University, a Certificate of Public Leadership from Pepperdine University School of Public Policy which she serves as the Legislative Committee Chair, and has completed advanced leadership studies at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Recently she received the nation’s top professional achievement for election officials, having been designated a Certified Elections Registration Administer (CERA) and after completing a multi-year course of study from Auburn University’s Master in Public Administration program.
Ms. Yarbrough and her husband Henderson have a blended family of six and share 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.