Illinois Working to Combat Election Judge Shortage

Illinois legislators are working to fill the void of election judges in the state.

State lawmakers are considering a proposal that would let county clerks operate polling places with three election judges instead of five, The Herald-Whig reported. Election judges check in voters, verify signatures, watch the ballot box and prevent electioneering.

Election judges are getting older and the state is struggling to replace those who can no longer serve, said Cris Cray, the director of legislation at the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Adams County's 74 precincts require 370 election judges, said Chuck Venvertloh, the county clerk. The county typically has 250 to 280 election judges working, he said.

"Our judge population is getting older and we're not getting a lot of new, young blood in there," he said.

State lawmakers previously gave county clerks the ability to get help from high school students. Students must be juniors or seniors, have grades of B or higher and have a reference from the school principal.

About a dozen student workers recently helped out with elections, Venvertloh said.

Sophia Marcolla, a senior at Quincy Notre Dame High School, said she recently helped at a polling place because she's interested in learning about the election process. The 17-year-old plans to study political science at the University of Kentucky in the fall.

Marcolla said participating in the election process is "very important and I'm trying to get more in my class to get involved."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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