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Veterans, others answer the call for Cook County election workers

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Veterans, others answer the call for Cook County election workers

Cook County has seen an increase in applicants to work the Nov. 8 election.

More than 2,000 Cook County residents have signed up to serve as an election judge for the Nov. 8 gubernatorial election.

Three weeks ago, Cook County Clerk Karen A. Yarbrough announced that her office was facing a serious shortage of election workers and that she was appealing to military veterans to consider serving.

Since Sept. 20, more than 2,050 residents have registered to be a judge.

“We are absolutely thrilled and extremely thankful to these individuals for stepping up for our democracy,” Yarbrough said in a statement. “As they have before under so many difficult circumstances, our veterans have again answered the call to service. And this will help to ensure that our precincts will be staffed and that democracy will be served for the voters of Cook County on Election Day.”

Election officials in the clerk's office said the applicants comprise mostly veterans, along with their friends and family members. 

When Yarbrough made the announcement three weeks ago, approximately 4,350 individuals had signed up to be judges, though it takes 7,200 poll workers to serve the county's 1,439 precincts. Cook County has seen a 40% decline in election workers in the last eight years. 

Election judges are paid $200 and polling place technicians $365. The clerk’s office provides training for both positions. 

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

Yarbrough also noted that early voting is open at five suburban Cook County Circuit Courthouses, as well as at the 69 W. Washington St. pedway downtown. Voters also can drop off their mail ballots at any of these locations.

On Oct. 24, early voting will expand to more than 50 locations throughout the suburbs.


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