Chicago and Cook County will each be recruiting 1,000 election judges by April 4.


Officials overseeing elections in Chicago and suburban Cook County say they need as many as 1,000 election judges each just two weeks before the April 4 local elections end.

Election officials in suburban Cook County this week urgently called for more people to work as paid election judges, describing it as a “severe shortage.”

“Without election officials, this wouldn’t work,” said Cook County Deputy Clerk of Elections Edmund Michalowski.

The county is recruiting election judges to manage precincts and assist voters, and polling place technicians to install and maintain voting equipment, Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough said.

The training required and the long work day can earn a judge $250 and a technician $385. She encouraged veterans, students, bilinguals, and all residents registered to vote in the county to apply. Online training will also be offered, Michalowski said.

“This is not just a job. Democracy is voting. Get in the game,” said Yarbrough.

Election officials will be able to receive their checks in the mail in the weeks following the election, Michalowski said. Chicago voters can also serve as election judges in suburban Cook County, he added.

Election judge Jerome Gay holds up an early voting sign as voters wait outside the Chicago Board of Elections' Loop supersite on March 20, 2023.

Nearly every year, election officials in Chicago and its suburbs call in election judges.. Organizing votes for suburban election campaigns is always a serious task, said Mr Michalowski. This year, the county operates 800 different voting styles in 13 languages, with 2,000 candidates participating, he said.

“We can’t do that without the support of election judges,” he said.

The county aims to have five judges at each polling place, Michalowski said. Most districts now have three, but some districts have only two, he said.

Voters in suburban Cook County elect leaders to serve as city clerk, treasurer, library board member, school board member, and park district commissioner. Suburban’s numerous contests include his seven races for contested mayor.

The Chicago Board of Elections also announced a runoff vote on April 4, featuring a mayoral contest between Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Ballas, and April 14. Chicago Electoral Commission spokesman Max Bieber said Tuesday that he is seeking 1,000 more election judges for the mayoral runoff.

Chicago now has about four judges in each of its roughly 1,300 constituencies, Biver said, despite early voting starting this week and election officials working with voting equipment. said Mr. The target is five judges, he added.

Additional judges will help electoral officials prepare for inevitable resignations and no-shows, he said.

“We always need more election judges. We want to not only be fully staffed on Election Day, we want to be overstaffed,” said Bever.

The Electoral Commission struggled to get the judges in charge of the February 28 local elections to also be in charge of the April 4 run-off elections.

He said the returning judge would make $255 in Chicago and the new judge would make $230. The Electoral Commission will promote the counting of votes and reach out to former judges and district officials, he added.

“Our entire Election Day system is based on signing election judges,” Bieber said. “They’re Election Day in Chicago.”

To apply to serve as a Cook County elections official, please visit: or 312-603-0970. To apply for an election judge in Chicago, visit:

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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