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The lawyer has seen history made with his decades in election law

As the midterm elections approach, the political waves start from national politics all the way down to state, county and local voting results. Attorney Bert Odelson is guaranteed to be at the center of one or the other.

Now in his 50s, he practices election law, and Odelson is at legal ground zero for many of the country’s hotly contested political confrontations.

Odelson is a nationally recognized legal expert who has dealt with Republican presidents and powerful Democratic mayors.

His allegiance and observance belong to the constitution; it’s an unchanging promise that grew up in a family where law and order and honor for the United States came first and last.

His father was one of eight Odelson boys who served in World War II from 1942 to 1945.

As a teenager and in his early 20s, Odelson joined the hippie generation of the time. During the 1968 Democratic Convention, he worked as a driver for the famous political writer Gore Vidal and a political activist named Paul Newman.

“He was a delegate from Connecticut,” Odelson said. “He and Gore Vidal were best friends. I got to be their chauffeur for the entire Democratic convention. I saw the results of the brutality of the children who were affected, and then I thought, “I want to get involved.” That’s what I want to do.”

Odelson said it was his big moment.

In the 1980s, Odelson found himself in the thick of the Chicago Council wars and subsequent ballot fights.

Odelson successfully defended in the US Supreme Court the right of Eugene Pincham to remain on the ballot when Chicago Democrats wanted to remove him.

But by far his most famous case was the result of the 2000 presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

READ MORE: Your headquarters in local elections

With the midterm elections just days away, Odelson wants people to know that they may not like the outcome of a particular race, but the fairness of the outcome should probably not be in doubt.

WGN’s Patrick Ellwood recently spent some time with Odelson and has more.


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