Not enough election judges signed up for March 20 duty
PRINCETON — Bureau County is currently facing a shortage of election judges for the March 20 primary election, which could result in having to shut down polling places and move voters to different sites.
Bureau County Clerk Kami Hieronymus said she’s short judges in 13 of the county’s 36 polling places.
“If I don’t get more people interested in these areas to work, I’m going to have to shut down the polling place. ... I’m sure it will inconvenience voters in these areas, but I cannot open a polling place with no one there to hand out ballots,” she said.
The precincts in need are Clarion Township, Fairfield Township, Ohio 2 (Kasbeer), Greenville Township, Westfield 2 (Cherry), Manlius Township, Gold Township, Berlin Township, Macon Township, Hall 4 (Ladd), Hall 5 (Seatonville), Selby 1 (Hollowayville) and Selby 2 and 3 (DePue).
“I am hoping we can get more people interested so we can keep them all open. It just depends if we can get help where we need it,” Hieronymus said.
Many of the precincts mentioned currently have only one judge signed up, but a minimum of three are needed at each location to serve on Election Day.
Election judges are officers of the court when they serve in the polling place. They determine who is registered to vote, make sure the voter gets the correct ballot, keep all election materials secure, and tally all reports at the end of the day.
They work with a laptop program to verify registration, handle machines that read the voters’ ballots, and return supplies to the courthouse.
“There are many duties for the judges to handle on Election Day. It’s not an easy job, but very critical to the whole process,” she said.
Election judges work 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day and get paid for being there. Hieronymus said it’s $140 if they attend a judge training class.
Anyone interested in becoming an election judge should contact the county clerk’s office. An upcoming training class is being offered at the end of the month.
“It would be very beneficial for new election judges to attend the judge class. It is a great overview of the duties of the election judge at the polls,” Hieronymus said.
“(The) job is very important in conducting fair and honest elections in Bureau County. It may seem to be a small part of the whole picture, but it is a critical part. ... The key to proper conduct at the polls is in the hands of the election judge.”