Election Judges

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Note from Debbie Ming-Mendoza,

Thank you for your interest in becoming an election judge.  Election judges help to guarantee the rights of voters are protected at the early vote centers, and the polling places on Election Day.  Election judges are commissioned as officer of the Circuit court and must take an oath to uphold the constitutions of the United States and the State of Illinois in the performance of their duties.  Election judges ensure every American qualified to vote is allowed to vote and every American allowed to vote is qualified to vote only once.  The following points out the qualifications necessary to become an election judge, also some of their important duties and responsibilities, and how to become an election judge.

Sincerely,
Debbie Ming-Mendoza
Madison County Clerk



Election Judge FAQs

How do I qualify to be an Election Judge?

Is there training for being an election judge?

Are Election Judges Paid?

What About Party Affiliation?

How are Election Judges Selected?

How Will I Know If I Am to Serve?

How are election judges trained?

What are the duties of an Election Judge?

Who do I contact to be an election judge?

I’m in high school; can I be an Election Judge?





How do I qualify to be an Election Judge?

To be an Election Judge you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States and entitled to vote at the next election or be a high school junior/senior in good standing or a student enrolled in a Madison County public, community college or private secondary school.
  • Of good repute and character.
  • Able to speak, read and write the English language.
  • Skilled in the four fundamental rules (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) of arithmetic.
  • Of good understanding and capable to perform his/her duties.
  • Neither a candidate for any office at the election nor an elected precinct committeeman.

Residing and be registered to vote in the precinct where selected to serve as judge.

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Is there training for being an election judge?

  • Yes, there is training and you are paid for training.  Training is offered at several convenient locations throughout Madison county. 

    Training is valid for a two-year period. It provides an overview of the legal and procedural requirements, as well as hands-on experience processing a voter.  Registration is required.  Email us at: srbrown@co.madison.il.us

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Are Election Judges Paid?

Judges who have not attended training earn $100.00 for each election served. Judges who maintain a trained status (every two years) receive $150.00. Additional pay can be earned for taking on extra responsibilities before and on Election Day. (See Pay Rate Schedule below.) Election judges DO NOT receive W-2 forms for income tax purposes.
Pay Rate Schedule for Madison County Election Judges
Base Pay $100.00
Attendance at Pre-Election Briefing $25.00
On-Line Training or Certification (every two years) $25.00
Judge serving out of township (if needed) Mileage
Nursing home voting before Election Day** $35.00
** Nursing home judges must also serve Election Day

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What About Party Affiliation?

Election judges at each voting site represent the two major political parties. When five judges are required, three persons of the same political party serve.  When three election judges are required, only two of the same political party serve.

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How Are Election Judges Selected?

In the spring of even-numbered years, the County Board approves election judges from certified lists furnished by the Madison County Central Committee Chairman for each party. All judges are designated as either Regular or Alternate. For each polling place three judges are appointed from one party and two from the another. 

In Madison County, which is under the jurisdiction of the County Clerk, the party which casts the highest average number of votes in the three most recent gubernatorial election in the precinct shall be represented by three judges; the party which cast the second highest number of votes at the three most recent gubernatorial election in the precinct shall be represented by two judges.  After selections are made, the lists are submitted to the Circuit Court for comment. If no objections are filed, an application is made for their commissioning to serve as an election judge for two year term.

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How Will I Know If I Am to Serve?

All Regular judges who indicate availability for an election within the availability deadline, receive a scheduling notice from the Madison County Clerk's Elections Department. This mailing lists the name and address of the voting site where they are to serve.  When Regular judges are not available to serve, Alternate judges who are available are scheduled to serve.

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How are election judges trained?

In each precinct, at least one judge representing each political party must be certified as having satisfactorily completed a training course and examination for judges of election within the past six months. This required course covers the duties and responsibilities of election judges and consists of at least four hours of instruction and examination which tests reading skills, ability to works with poll lists, ability to add, and knowledge of election laws governing the operation of the polling place.

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What are the duties of an Election Judge?

In the polling place, the judges are responsible for ensuring that the electoral process is administered fairly and in accordance with federal and state election laws. Election judges serve as officers of the circuit court and swear to uphold the constitution of the United States and the State of Illinois in performing their duties.

All judges in the polling place have equal authority and responsibility regardless of their length of service. There is no “head” judge. All decisions must be made in accordance with the election laws and a majority vote of all judges. However, each judge may act alone to enforce election laws. Judges should rotate the various duties during the day.

Only judges can handle the election materials, supplies and ballots.

The polls are open from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. Judges are required to report at the polling place in which they are serving by 5:00 a.m. and are required to remain until after the polls close and all forms, certificates and affidavits are completed and signed, and all election materials are packaged for return to the County Building. Two judges (one from each political party) must return to the County Building at the end of the night.

Judges are required to maintain order in the polling place throughout Election Day. All persons present in the polling place, or within the campaign free zone (within 100 horizontal feet of any such room), must obey any lawful order of the judges. All serious problems should be reported to the election authority and the judges do have the authority to evict any person creating a disturbance. Judges must monitor the polling place throughout the day to ensure no electioneering is taking place within the campaign free zone.

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Who do I contact to be an election judge?

Please email us at srbrown@co.madison.il.us become an Election Judge.

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I'm in high school; can I be an Election Judge?

Yes, if you are a qualified high school junior or senior, you can be appointed to serve as an Election Judge. High School Principals in Madison County are contacted prior to elections to provide qualifying students’ applications, which must be signed by both the students’ principal and parent/guardian.

You qualify to be an election judge if, as of the date of the election at which you serve as a judge, you:

  1. are a U.S. citizen;
  2. are a junior or senior in good standing enrolled in a public or private secondary school;
  3. have a cumulative grade point average equivalent to at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale;
  4. have the written approval of the principal of the secondary school he or she attends at the time of     appointment;
  5. have the written approval of his or her parent or legal guardian;
  6. have satisfactorily completed the training course for judges of election; and
  7. meet all other qualifications for appointment and service as an election judge.

No more than one election judge qualifying under this subsection may serve per political party per precinct. Prior to appointment, a judge qualifying under this subsection must certify in writing to the election authority the political party the judge chooses to affiliate with. Students appointed as election judges under this subsection shall not be counted as absent from school on the day they serve as judges.

High School Principals are contacted by the election office prior to each election to provide qualifying students applications, which must be signed by both the student’s principal and parent/guardian.


Qualifying students should NOT complete the application on this website, but should complete the Application for Student Election Judge, which can be obtained from your principal.

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