Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago


Langdon D. Neal, Chairman
Richard A. Cowen, Secretary/Commissioner
Marisel A. Hernandez, Commissioner

Lance Gough, Executive Director
Kelly Bateman, Asst. Executive Director

Home > For Voters > Become a Judge of Election

Become a Judge of Election

Click here for an Application To Serve as a Judge of Election

What are Judges of Election?
Judges of election are the officials who are responsible for the conduct of the election in the precinct polling place. The judges of election are the backbone of the electoral process.  Their jobs are challenging, interesting and personally rewarding.

In each precinct, the judges share in responsibilities, duties and authorities that include: 

(1) Opening the polling place and setting up voting equipment at 5 a.m. on Election Day;
(2) Conducting a fair, impartial and secure election in the precinct polling place, allowing voting from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
(3) Tabulating the vote totals for the precinct and transmitting the results to Election Central after the polls close at 7 p.m.

Training & Instructional Materials
NEW: Updated with Electronic Poll Book (E-Poll Book) Instructions
    Table of Contents & Electronic Poll Book Instructions
           Click here for Introductory Video on Electronic Poll Books
    Chapter 1 - Information About Judges of Election and Polling Place Administrators
    Chapter 2 - Who's Allowed in the Polling Place
    Chapter 3 - Voting Equipment
    Chapter 4 - Check Election Supplies
    Chapter 5 - Setting Up the Polling Place
    Chapter 6 - During Voting Hours
    Chapter 7 - Closing the Polls
    Glossary of Election Terms
    Forms Index
    Troubleshooting Balloting Equipment

    Early Voting Handbook

Requirements to Serve as a Judge of Election
Judges of Election must meet all of these requirements. Judges of Election must:
 - Be registered voters in Cook County (U.S. citizens at least 18 years of age);
 - Be able to speak, read and write English;
 - Be able to perform basic math;
 - Be of good understanding and capable;
 - Not be a committeeman, precinct captain or candidate and must agree not to serve as a judge if they become one;
 - Notify the Board of Elections if a person who shares his or her residence becomes a candidate, and must not serve as a judge in that election in any precinct where that candidate is on the ballot;
 - Be of good repute and character and not a registered sex offender anywhere in the United States and not have committed a crime that would require registering as a sex offender anywhere in the United States;
 - Agree that if the judge applicant is removed as an election judge due to misbehavior, neglect of duty or other cause, the person will not be paid for training or election day service;
 - Agree that if a person fails to perform all of the services required of a judge, the compensation may be reduced accordingly;
 - Agree that by law, the name, address and party affiliation are subject to public disclosure; and,
 - Agree that the Board of Elections may use any personal data provided in the Judge Application for the Board's internal operations.

Judges of Election are paid $170 only upon completion of training and service on Election Day.  Returning judges who have previously completed training also receive $25 more for taking refresher training.

Judges are strongly encouraged to attend training sessions ahead of the March 2014 Primary to learn about the new NEW ELECTRONIC POLL BOOKS (click here for introductory video) which will be used to check in voters at the March 2014 Primary.

Extra compensation is also paid to judges who:

 -­ Pick up the Election Judge key envelope on either the Saturday or Sunday prior to Election Day;
 - ­Allow the use of the judge's cell phone (by all judges within the polling place) on Election Day;
 -­ Return the election materials to a receiving station on election night (to be determined by all judges on Election Day.) 
 - Serve additional days in absentee voting, nursing-home voting or in post-election counting activities in the warehouse.

Income earned by election judges and other election workers is subject to federal income tax; however, such income is not subject to income tax withholding. Those few election judges and election workers who earn $600 or more in any calendar year for multiple election assignments will receive an IRS Form W-2 at the end of the year. Election judges and election workers who also are employed by the City of Chicago or the County of Cook will receive a Form W-2 that will include income earned for election duties even if less than $600 annually.  All individuals who may be eligible to receive a Form W-2 must complete and submit to the Board IRS Form W-4.  Click here for the IRS Form W-4.

Contact information for Judges Department 

Attention: Judges Department
Chicago Election Board
69 W Washington St., Suite 600
Chicago IL 60602-3006


High School & College Student Judges of Election
NOTE: Currently, all Student Judge of Election positions for the March 18, 2014 Primary have been filled. We will offer the application again on this web page in the fall ahead of the Nov. 4, 2014 General Election.

The Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago is proud to lead the United States in hiring high school and college students to serve as judges and many college-age students to provide technical support. In recent elections, more than 4,000 students have helped administer elections in Chicago.

High School and College Student Judges of Election hold the same responsibilities and authority and receive the same pay as other Judges of Election. Students may begin to serve as early as their junior year in high school, even before they are registered to vote, so long as they have a 3.0 grade-point average, sign-off from a parent/guardian and sign-off from a principal/college advisor.

Click here for more information on serving in November 2014 as a High School or College Student Judge of Election.