Faced with a shortage of poll workers for the Nov. 8 gubernatorial election, the Cook County Clerk's Office is enlisting the help of veterans.
The clerk's office, which administers elections in 1,439 precincts in suburban Cook County, has seen a 40% decline in election judges in the last eight years. About 4,000 people have signed up to work the Nov. 8 election, but about 7,000 are needed.
"The pandemic has had a significant impact, but I also believe the political climate in our country has been a factor" Clerk Karen A. Yarbrough said in a statement. "Our democracy has been under attack from lies and misinformation about the election process, which has caused fear and confusion for some voters."
Yarbrough also noted that many judges have simply retired.
"Our veterans are a trusted and committed group who have already displayed their courage to serve our country in difficult times," Yarbrough said. "They have the skills, discipline and pride to serve and help us shore up confidence in our electoral system."
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Recruiting veterans as election judges and technicians is part of a nationwide effort.
Election judges greet voters, sign them in and keep the polling place running smoothly.
Technicians work with election judges to check supplies and equipment and assist with the setup, maintenance and breakdown of election equipment.
Election judges must be registered Cook County voters or eligible college or high school students. Poll workers fluent in Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Tagalog, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Gujarati, Urdu, and Arabic, also are needed in many precincts.
Apply at cookcountyclerk.com/work.