Students share their reasons for election judging

With the elections coming up fast and the primary election in Illinois on Tuesday, March 17, students throughout the school take the opportunity to become election judges.

“Election judging is having students, and the ones who want to participate around the community, work for the day. During the election, they pass out ballots, check-in, or just make sure everything is running smoothly on election day,” said government teacher Erin Wise. 

There are many ways a student or community member can become an election judge. Becoming an election judge may be a process, but students can get a feel for what it’s like working with politics. Especially if a student is looking at a political or governmental career choice, it can be a good insight.

“You become an election judge by signing up with the county. We run the services here in terms of training students, but anyone can do it, who’s at least a junior in high school and good standing,” Wise said. “You have to go through a three hour training, and then once you’ve done that, you can be an election judge for two cycles. Basically, you can go for a full day; it’s a very long day. You have to be there very early in the morning, before people even come to start voting, to set up. Then you’re there at the end of the night to make sure the count is correct and close everything up. It’s a very busy and fun day, and the [people] get to really see how the political process works in terms of the nuts and bolts of it.” 

Students throughout the school have become election judges for a multitude of reasons. Junior Hillary Collins decided to become one so she has the experience and responsibility.

I decided to become an election judge because I have never really been hands-on with local politics and elections. I was hoping to gain more insight into what goes on with our local elections and how it all works out. I think it’s also just a new and interesting experience that makes us be more responsible and mature, while also being able to get paid for it,” Collins said.

Wise also believes students should become involved in election judging for many different reasons. 

“Students should get involved so [they] can really see from the ground up how the process works, what it looks like, you know who votes, and how it is different in terms of midterm election versus general election. We’re having the primary on March 17, and it’s probably going to be pretty busy, so it’ll be fun for them to see and be involved.” Wise said, “Being involved in an election at any level, there’s a buzz. Even when you are sitting with a judge, and chatting with those around you, there’s a buzz in the air, so it’s a fun day.”