Polling Places Ramp Up For Elections

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Polls open at 6 a.m. Tuesday. On Monday, workers were busily setting up the ballot booths.

But for the past few weeks, election officials have been busily searching for election judges.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole says it seems like election judges have been dropping like flies, but there’s no reason to panic.

It’s the 11th-hour push for your vote by candidates all over the state, and the process to register your choice is also kicking into overdrive.

Suburban Cook County alone needs to coordinate some 10,000 trained election judges. The problem is, hundreds are bowing out. They may bow out from a day at the polls for sickness or a family emergency. 

“About 50 or 60 a day call and say they can’t work,” Cook County Clerk David Orr says. “We’ve had times where in the last week alone we’ve lost 1,600 people.”

His staff is rushing to fill the void. There were classes over the weekend to teach people to help.

Orr said things will work out.

“We know it’s gonna happen and we plan ahead,” he says.

Facebook recruitment has helped the county  prepare hundreds of standbys, and  online training now makes it possibly to certify a judge at the last minute.

“Sometimes judges can find friends and that’s what these people are doing right now, making sure the holes are plugged,” Orr says.

Among those helping will be Emmanuel Fasorati of Rogers Park, who will be ready at 5 a.m. Tuesday. The computer professional has been an election judge for several years now; he’s even a coordinator for his precinct.

You may barely notice their faces as you make your way to the ballot box, but judges like Fasorati say their work is a vote of confidence in the American way.

“I feel I am helping democracy work, and it’s very rewarding,” he says.

Election judges make $170 a day.