Registered Voters: 388,057 as of 10/07/14

Election Judge Frequently Asked Questions


I do not consider myself a Republican or Democrat. Why can’t I be an Election Judge?
What time do I have to arrive at the Polls?
How many hours will I have to work?
Could I only work a half day and another Election Judge come in for the rest of the day?
Do I have to be a registered voter in order to serve as an Election Judge?
Will I be paid the same day I come in for training?
Will I have to report my earnings to the Department of Employment Security or declare the earnings on my Federal Tax Return?
How do you determine how many Republican and Democratic Election Judges work at a polling place?
How often is the County Clerk required to train the Election Judges?
I signed up to be an Election Judge in my own precinct but I am never called to work there. Why?
How are Election Judges appointed?
Will I be provided food for lunches, snacks and dinner?


I do not consider myself a Republican or Democrat. Why can’t I be an Election Judge?

The reason we are unable to have Election Judges serve from any party not defined as a “Leading Political Party" is based on the Illinois State Statutes, 10 ILCS 5/1-3

It defines a “Leading Political Party” as one of two political parties whose candidates for Governor at the most recent three Govenor's elections received either the highest or second highest number of votes. The political party whose candidates for Governor received the highest average number of votes shall be known as the first leading political party and the political party whose candidates for Governor receive the second highest average number of votes shall be known as the second leading political party.


What time do I have to arrive at the Polls?

In order to complete the “Opening the Polling Place” procedures, all Election Judges must arrive at the polls no later than 5:00 a.m.


How many hours will I have to work?

Illinois law requires that the polls be open from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. All Election Judges must arrive at the polls no later than 5:00 a.m. and must remain until the “Closing the Polling Place” procedures are completed. Two Election Judges, one from each political party must return the supplies in the same vehicle.


Could I only work a half day and another Election Judge come in for the rest of the day?

No. In order to maintain the integrity of the election, the Election Judges that opened the polling place equipment and signed the zero tape in the morning must also be present to sign all the closing documentation.


Do I have to be a registered voter in order to serve as an Election Judge?

Yes. In order to ensure the correct party ratio, you must be a registered voter and you must, in a primary election, vote the party ballot of the party you are serving. Exceptions are made for students interested in participating in the Student Judge Program.


Will I be paid the same day I come in for training?

No. In order to be paid for attending a training class, you must also serve on Election Day.


Will I have to report my earnings to the Department of Employment Security or declare the earnings on my Federal Tax Return?

The County Clerk’s Office does not issue W-2 forms. It is the responsibility of the person receiving the funds to report the earnings. This is based on IRS requirements. If you have any questions, you should contact your personal financial advisor.


How do you determine how many Republican and Democratic Election Judges work at a polling place?

The number of Republican and Democratic Judges is determined by an average of the three most recent Govenor's races.


How often is the County Clerk required to train the Election Judges?

Before being assigned to work, all Election Judges are required to attend a two-hour training class. After this, Election Judges are required to be trained every two years.


I signed up to be an Election Judge in my own precinct but I am never called to work there. Why?

Although our office attempts to place an Election Judge in their own precinct, it is not always possible to do this. If an Election Judge is appointed by the Precinct Committeeman, they must be placed in their precinct. If we are unable to place an Election Judge in their own precinct we make every attempt to place them as close as possible. Election Judges that are willing to travel outside of their own precinct are paid mileage.


How are Election Judges appointed?

Five Election Judges are appointed to serve in each precinct, three representing one of the major political parties, Democratic or Republican, and two Judges representing the other. The Precinct Committeeman of each respective precinct furnishes the County Clerk with a certified list of persons to serve as Election Judges for their precinct. At its July meeting in even-numbered years, the County Board approves Judges from these lists. If the Precinct Committeemen do not furnish the list, it is the responsibility of the County Clerk, Township Party Chairman and Central Party Chairman to fill the position. The Circuit Court confirms the appointment of Election Judges for a two-year term of service. Once commissioned, Election Judges perform their duties as officers of the court. An individual commissioned to serve as an Election Judge is obligated to be available for each election during the two-year period. In addition to the five regular Judges appointed, supplemental Judges are appointed and commissioned in the same manner.


Will I be provided food for lunches, snacks and dinner?

No. The County Clerk’s Office does not provide food during the day. Our budget does not allow for this. You are always encouraged to bring along a cooler with the food and water or pop you will need for the day, as it may not always be possible for someone to leave the polling place to purchase food.