Become a Judge of Election

chicago election judge What are Judges of Election?

Judges of election are the officials who are responsible for the conduct of the election in the precinct polling place.  The job is challenging, interesting and personally rewarding.

In each precinct, the judges share in the responsibilities, the duties and the authorities that include:

(1) Opening the polling place and setting up voting equipment at 5 a.m. on Election Day;
(2) Conducting a fair, impartial and secure election in the precinct polling place, allowing voting from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
(3) Tabulating the vote totals for the precinct and transmitting the results to Election Central after the polls close at 7 p.m.


Apply to Serve!


Apply ONLINE to serve at the Nov. 8, 2016 General Election. (This is the recommended way to apply.)

The mail-in application is available here.

Training & Instructional Materials (Note: These materials from the March Primary will be updated by early September.)

Covers, Table of Contents, Receiving Stations & Important Phone Numbers
Chapter 1 - Information About Judges of Election and Election Coordinators
Chapter 2 - Who's Allowed in the Polling Place
Chapter 3 - Voting Equipment
Chapter 4 - Check Election Supplies
Chapter 5 - Setting Up the Polling Place
Chapter 6 - During Voting Hours
Chapter 7 - Closing the Polls
Glossary of Election Terms
Forms Index
Troubleshooting Balloting Equipment
Certificate of Results - Form 80
Seal Accountability Form

Early Voting Handbook


Requirements to Serve as a Judge of Election


Judges of Election must meet all of these requirements. Judges of Election must:

- Be registered voters in Cook County (U.S. citizens at least 18 years of age);
- Be able to speak, read and write English;
- Be able to perform basic math;
- Be of good understanding and capable;
- Not be a committeeman, precinct captain or candidate and must agree not to serve as a judge if they become one;
- Notify the Board of Elections if a person who shares his or her residence becomes a candidate, and must not serve as a judge in that election in any precinct where that candidate is on the ballot;
- Be of good repute and character and not a registered sex offender anywhere in the United States and not have committed a crime that would require registering as a sex offender anywhere in the United States;
- Agree that if the judge applicant is removed as an election judge due to misbehavior, neglect of duty or other cause, the person will not be paid for training or election day service;
- Agree that if a person fails to perform all of the services required of a judge, the compensation may be reduced accordingly;
- Agree that by law, the name, address and party affiliation are subject to public disclosure; and,
- Agree that the Board of Elections may use any personal data provided in the Judge Application for the Board's internal operations.




Judges of Election are paid $125 for serving all of Election Day, plus $45 if they also have completed training.

Extra compensation is also paid to judges who:

- Pick up the Election Judge key envelope on either the Saturday or Sunday prior to Election Day;
- Allow the use of the judge's cell phone (by all judges within the polling place) on Election Day;
- Return the election materials to a receiving station on election night (to be determined by all judges on Election Day.)
- Serve additional days in Vote By Mail ballot processing, nursing-home voting or in post-election counting activities in the warehouse.

Income earned by election judges and other election workers is subject to federal income tax; however, such income is not subject to income tax withholding. Those few election judges and election workers who earn $600 or more in any calendar year for multiple election assignments will receive an IRS Form W-2 at the end of the year. Election judges and election workers who also are employed by the City of Chicago or the County of Cook will receive a Form W-2 that will include income earned for election duties even if less than $600 annually. All individuals who may be eligible to receive a Form W-2 must complete and submit to the Board IRS Form W-4. Click here for the IRS Form W-4.


Contact information for Judges Department


Attention: Judges Department
Chicago Election Board
69 W Washington St., Suite 600
Chicago IL 60602-3006

High School & College Student Judges of Election


The Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago is proud to lead the United States in hiring and training high school and college students to serve as judges and many college-age students to provide technical support. Each citywide election in Chicago over the last decade has been administered with the help of 4,000 student judges. Click here for general information on Student Judges of Election and applying to serve.