Cook County Clerk David Orr wants to recruit nearly 2,000 new election judges to work during the Feb. 2, 2010 primary election.
“The surge from last year’s historic election is behind us and participation levels have dipped,” Orr said. “Every election is vital to the democratic process and election judges are at the heart of making that process a success.”
Orr said the date of the primary election – in the blistering cold of February – is also an obstacle.
“I’ve repeatedly called on Illinois legislators to move the primary to the friendlier weather of spring, when both voters and poll workers are more likely to participate,” he said.
About 9,000 election judges are needed to fully staff the 1,937 precincts in suburban Cook County. The shortage is greatest in the following townships: Berwyn, Cicero, Lemont, Lyons, Maine, New Trier, Niles, Northfield, Orland, Palatine, River Forest, Riverside, Schaumburg, Stickney and Wheeling.
Most precincts will have five judges. Precincts with a greater number of voters or historically high turnout are assigned more judges.
Election judges receive $170 for completing a 3-hour training session and working on Election Day. Judges are required to arrive at their precinct by 5 a.m. and work until the votes are transmitted after the polls close at 7 p.m. Election judges open polling places, certify that voters are registered and qualified to vote, explain election procedures, issue ballots and activate cards for the touch screens, operate election equipment, and transmit votes at the end of the day.
To qualify, you must be a registered voter and live in Cook County. People interested in serving on Election Day can complete an online application or call (312) 603-0965.
High school juniors and seniors – even if they are not registered or old enough to vote – can also serve as election judges, with permission from a parent and principal.