As political campaigns kick into high gear these last few weeks before Election Day, we need to think ahead to who will be staffing the polls on Nov. 7. Fair, honest and accurate elections depend on the work of competent election judges, and there are never enough people who volunteer for this important task. Can you help?

Election judges are the people you see staffing each precinct’s polling place on Election Day. Their work is vital. The election judges open the polling place early in the morning, set up the equipment and materials, assist voters, and close the polling place. Then they process and transmit the vote totals, certify the vote, and pack up. (And they fill in a payroll card and wait for their $150 check to come in the mail.)

Training sessions are provided at many locations throughout the county, including the Oak Park Public Library. To be an election judge, you must be a U.S. citizen, legal resident of Cook County, registered voter, and able to understand English. Bilingual election judges are always needed. Election judges also work with electronic voting machines, so comfort with using simple computers (with the help of the detailed manual) is a must as well.

Sign up at your local party committeeperson’s office, or fill out an application on the County Clerk’s website: The Clerk’s office will send the online application to your township committeeperson, who will then contact you to schedule your training.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization, which encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Louise Gates, Denise Sacks
Co-presidents, League of Women Voters of Oak Park and River Forest

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