CHICAGO (CBS) — During an ordinary election, poll workers are hard to come by; occasionally some are dismissed – fired.
CBS 2 is always investigating, and asked the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners for records to see why some election judges get sent packing every Election Day. Here is what we learned.
“Let me say this. Anyone that I has helped in the election, they would say, ‘Yeah, I remember her. She helped me. She was more professional than the others were,'” said June Ward, who has worked several elections between 2010 and 2016. “The good thing about it is that you helping peoples with they votes.”
But, during the 2016 primary, she got fired for videotaping inside the polling place.
“At that precinct where I was working at, Jesse White – Secretary of State Jesse White – came in, and I had recorded him,” Ward admitted.
But that’s a no-no in the rulebook. CBS 2 learned that’s not the only reason, not even the most common reason, election judges get fired. We obtained records for six elections held between 2016 and spring 2019, and found 72,000 people were hired to staff those elections. Only 41 were fired.
Most often, they were removed for abandoning their positions, not performing their duties, or being verbally abusive or disruptive.
The problems that voters complain about the most include drunk judges and judges who fall asleep. CB 2 counted just nine election judges removed for each of those reasons.
We also asked Cook County for the same information and found most judges got dismissed for not responding when they were contacted to serve again.