You Be the Judge!

Thomas O'Neill III, Peoria County Board

Elections allow people to have a voice. Whether you are an athlete voting for team captain, a director voting for chairman or a U.S. citizen voting for president, your vote carries equal weight to that of your teammate, colleague or neighbor. Elections are the crux of a democratic society. Our nation's primary and general elections would not be possible, however, without election judges.

Election judges are responsible for the proper and lawful conduct of an election in the polling place. In Illinois, they are commissioned as officers of the circuit clerk, taking an oath to uphold the constitutions of both the United States and the State of Illinois in performing their duties. Election judges help ensure that every qualified person is permitted to vote, and that every person permitted to vote is qualified to vote.

Locally, the need for election judges is growing. Peoria County joins many other municipalities in our search for civic-minded individuals to serve as election judges. Election judges respect and understand the importance of administering an election. They play a critical role in the democratic process by ensuring all registered voters have an opportunity to cast their ballot on or before Election Day. And not only is their enthusiasm for public elections unmatched, it is contagious.

Election judges must be 18 years or older, a U.S. citizen and registered to vote. Candidates for election judge must be approved by their affiliated party chair, a process handled by the county clerk's office. Judges participate in a mandatory training session prior to a primary or general election. On Election Day, they earn $155, and additional pay can be earned for assuming more responsibilities, such as picking up election supplies, delivering ballots after the polls close, or working during early voting.

In addition to election judges, Peoria County is also seeking tech judges. They are the ones responsible for making sure electronic voting equipment is set up properly at the polling place. These judges are trained to troubleshoot equipment problems that may arise during an election. On Election Day, tech judges earn $230.

Peoria County residents who are interested in becoming an election judge can contact the Peoria County Clerk's office at (309) 672-6070 or elections@peoriacounty.org; more information is also available at peoriacounty.org/countyclerk/ejudge. Registered voters living outside Peoria County or within the City of Peoria are encouraged to contact their respective county clerk's office or election commission for election judge opportunities in their community.

Voters are traditionally civic-minded individuals who demonstrate appreciation for the democratic process with their participation. We encourage you to become even more involved. Become an election judge. iBi

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