CHICAGO (CBS) — Despite the coronavirus outbreak, the Illinois primary is still scheduled to go on as planned Tuesday.
But there is a critical shortage of election judges, as many cancel because of coronavirus fears.
As CBS 2’s Jim Williams reported Monday, several early voting sites were open until 7 p.m. If you vote on Election Day Tuesday, be patient, because your precinct might have a shortage of election judges.
The line was long at the early voting site at Lake and Clark streets. Despite coronavirus fears and calls for social distancing, voters felt an obligation to be there.
“If you want to make a change, the way you start is by your vote,” said Ralph Liggins. “Voting is important.”
“I feel a little more scared than normal, but I definitely was not going to stay at home and not vote,” said Sarah DiMaria.
They voted and took precautions. Nicolette Rizzo said she used the touch screen to vote, and then used hand sanitizer “immediately.”
There was shortage of hand sanitizers, and no shortage of voters. There were a total of 16,000 early voters in the city on Sunday, and as of 2 p.m. Monday alone, 12,000.
But city and county officials are concerned about a shortage of polling place judges on primary day Tuesday.
“We have had many, many judges cancel on us,” said Chicago Board of Elections Chair Marisel Hernandez.
A “tsunami” of judges cancelling, according to Hernandez. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle told us the coronavirus is top of mind for many of the judges.
“Of our judge pool, we know most of our judges are 50 and over, so this is age group, unfortunately, which is most vulnerable to virus,” Preckwinkle said.
And so from officials, an urgent plea is going out: consider serving as a judge Tuesday. Signing up is easy, officials insist, the training is quick and the pay about $175.
“If you are healthy and capable and find your precinct to be understaffed and overburdened, you are welcomed and encouraged to offer to be sworn in as a substitute judge to help the election to run smoothly in that precinct,” Hernandez said.
You can be sworn-in as an election judge right at your polling place.