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

About the Polling Place Administrator (PPA) Project – March 18, 2014 Primary Election

This page is not available in the language you selected, so it will be displayed in English.

About the Project | Job Description | Application

During the March 2006 Primaries, the Chicago and Cook County Boards of Election introduced electronic voting.  Unfortunately, voters faced difficulties during the election. Many problems related to election workers' inability to operate and troubleshoot the new computerized equipment. To address these difficulties, the Chicago Board of Elections created a program that recruited 1,200 college students and trained them to operate and troubleshoot the new equipment.  These “Polling Place Administrators” (PPAs) were paid a stipend and assisted election judges in a majority of Chicago's precincts.  The program resulted in a major increase in the successful transmission of election night results and a decrease in equipment malfunctions. Because of the enormous success of the PPA program, the Chicago Board of Elections will again assign PPAs for the March 18, 2014 Primary Election. Please see the “Frequently Asked Questions” below as well as the Job Description for more details regarding the program.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)What is a PPA?
PPAs are assigned by the Chicago Board of Elections to assist the election judges and to act as the liaison between the polling place and Election Central on Election Day. They receive extensive training in setting up and troubleshooting electronic voting equipment. PPAs are assigned to polling places, which in some cases may have multiple precincts for which they are responsible. It is important to note that the PPA is not an election judge, but rather provides technical and procedural support to the polling place on Election Day.

I am an election judge. Can I serve as a PPA instead?
Regardless of your current status, anyone who was confirmed as an election judge by the Circuit Court for the November 2012 – March 2014 confirmation period will NOT be considered for the PPA program for the March 18, 2014 Primary Election.

When is the application available?
The application is available online at now.

Who is eligible to apply?
All applicants are required to:
- Be citizens of the United States;
- Be at least 18 years of age;
- Complete the appropriate training courses described below;
- Serve all day on Election Day from 5 a.m. to approximately 10 p.m. or when election judges are ready to leave;
- Have extensive experience in navigating the internet;
- Have extensive experience in operating computers;
- Have a valid e-mail account, checking it at least twice per week;
- Have a cell phone available for making and receiving calls on Election Day;
- Contact the election judges they serve with and assist them in checking the voting equipment on Election Eve;
- Pick up Election Day materials during the week prior to Election Day (the exact location, dates, and times will be sent by email);
- Take a class on and/or have relevant experience in the use and application of flash/USB drives and wireless transmission.

What is a stand-by PPA?
A “stand-by” PPA takes the place of an assigned PPA who does not report to the polling place on Election Day. The stand-by PPA reports to Stand-By Central in downtown Chicago on Election Day at 5am.  The stand-by PPA is then driven to her/his polling place where the assigned PPA is unavailable and serves there until polls close at 8:00 PM. Once transmission is complete and the equipment is put away, the stand-by PPA is driven from the polling place back to Stand-By Central. The stipend for serving as a stand-by PPA is $275 even if you are not sent out to a polling place on Election Day. If you are assigned as a stand-by PPA before Election Day, you will receive an e-mail notification explaining the details once you have completed the training.

What is the training process?
PPAs are required to complete both an in-person training session and online courses. 

Where are the training classes?
Training classes will be held at 17 N. State St., Chicago, IL which is easily accessible by public transportation.  For easy directions, visit

What if I am late to or miss a training session?
You will NOT be permitted to reschedule your training session after you have been assigned to a class. If you are unable to attend your scheduled training or if you are late to a class you will forfeit your stipend and the opportunity to serve as a PPA on Election Day.

When is Election Day?
 March 18, 2014

Do I have to be registered to vote?
You do not need to be a registered voter to participate in the PPA program.  However, if you are not registered but wish to do so please visit our website at

Do I get to choose which polling place I work in?
You cannot choose the location of the polling place you are assigned to.  However, the Chicago Board of Elections will do their best to accommodate you in your polling place assignment by placing you in a polling place as close to your home address as possible.

How many precincts will I be assigned to?
Polling places may contain more than one precinct.  PPAs may have to serve more than one precinct but if a polling place contains more than three precincts an additional PPA will be assigned.

How will I be contacted about my polling place assignment?
Your assignment will be given to you the week before the election when you pick up your Election Day materials.  The time and location where you pick up your materials will be announced in training and confirmed via e-mail.

How many hours do I have to commit?
You must take the online course which will last anywhere from 1-3 hours, depending on your knowledge and computer abilities.  Additionally, you must take an in-person class and pass a quiz.  This process will take close to 3.5 hours.  Finally, all PPAs must serve from 5:00 a.m. until approximately 10:00 p.m. when the election judges are ready to leave. You will not be permitted to leave the polling place during the day so take any food and beverages you plan to use with you.

How do I vote if I'm working on Election Day?
Since you will be working on Election Day and cannot leave your assigned polling place you can either vote absentee or vote early.  Please visit our website at to explore these options.

What if I have a class or work on Election Day?
You must make arrangements at your place of employment or your school in order to be excused so you can work on Election Day.

I can't commit to a full day of service on Election Day. Can I still apply?
No, only applicants that can serve on Election Day from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 10:00 p.m. should apply to serve. If you have completed and passed the training course and you cannot serve on Election Day, please notify the Chicago Board of Elections immediately at 312-269-3253.

How much will I get paid?
PPAs who complete the program by meeting the above requirements and who have successfully served in their assigned polling place on Election Day will receive a stipend of $275.

If my assigned polling place has more than one precinct will I receive additional pay?
No. The pay is the same regardless of how many precincts are in your assigned polling place.

When and how will I get paid?
You will receive a check in the mail four to six weeks after Election Day. The address you fill out in the “mailing address” field included in the online application and again on the payroll card is the address where you will receive your check from the Chicago Board of Elections so please be sure you have the correct mailing address on both.  If you do not submit your PPA payroll card in the black return bag on Election Day, or if it is not completed in its entirety, your pay may be delayed.

Still have questions?
Contact us at or at 312-269-3253.