SYCAMORE – With just a few months to go until the June Primary Election in Illinois, DeKalb County election officials said they still need more than 100 people to work as judges at the polls.
Sharon Holmes of DeKalb has been involved in the election process for 45 years.
Holmes was DeKalb County Clerk for 20 years, and she hired and trained election judges for 13 years before that.
“I’ve trained election judges, I’ve hired them and I’ve been one,” Holmes said. “I believe in the process. I was born and raised in DeKalb County, and being involved with the election is just part of who I am and what I do.”
Applications are accepted year-round to become an election judge in DeKalb County. Forms can be picked up at the Elections Office at the DeKalb County Administration Building, 110 E. Sycamore St. in Sycamore, or online on the Elections Office webpage.
To be an election judge, a person must be a citizen of the United States and entitled to vote at the next election, be able to speak, read and write the English language, be skilled in arithmetic, be of good understanding and capable of performing duties, not be a candidate for any office at the election and not a precinct committeeperson, be a resident of and registered to vote in DeKalb County and complete state-required training, according to the county clerk’s office. Election judges must be 18 years or older at the time of the General Election, which will be held Nov. 8, 2022.
Election judges are paid for their work on Election Day. They receive a base pay of $110 and an additional $40 if they attend a training course. Training courses for the 2022-2024 election cycle will be held April 19 through April 23. Election judges who pick up and deliver supplies and ballots will receive extra pay as well.
Some duties of election judges include: opening and closing the polls, being responsible for all election materials, ensuring that only qualified voters are permitted to vote, ensuring all votes are cast in secret, giving instructions in the method of voting, giving assistance to illiterate and disabled voters, maintaining order, certifying election results in the precinct and registering individuals to vote.
Election judges are the first to arrive and the last to leave polling locations on Election Day. Polls are open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., with election judges arriving about an hour before polls open and leaving an hour after polls close.
“It’s a long day, and you’re working about 13 hours, but it’s also a very rewarding day,” Holmes said. “You help set up, you help take down and clean up. But at the end of the day, you feel like you have done something for your community.”
DeKalb County Clerk Doug Johnson said that without election judges, there would be no election.
“We need them and all they do to make sure we have an Election Day that runs smoothly and efficiently,” Johnson said. “They make sure the integrity of the election is secure. They help run the election and the polling places.”
DeKalb County has 65 precincts and 42 polling locations, and each polling location needs at least three election judges. The Primary Election will be held June 28, and the General Election will be held Nov. 8.
Johnson said that 325 judges or more are needed for an election, and there are 207 people who have submitted an election judge form.
“We need election judges, and the more we have at busier precincts will help get voters through quicker,” Johnson said. “We’ve been lucky to have people already responding and signing up to be an election judge in DeKalb County, we just need more.”
Johnson said that people thinking about becoming an election process should reach out to the DeKalb County Elections Office by calling 815-895-7147, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or registering online at http://dekalb.il.clerkserve.com.
“Election judges make sure everything on Election Day is done the way it’s supposed to be done,” Johnson said. “They’re the stewards of the polling place. It’s not a volunteer position. You get paid for a day of work. If you’re concerned about the election process and its integrity, join in, sign up and get involved.”