Become a Judge of Election

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:

Opening the polling place and setting up voting equipment at 5 a.m. on Election Day;

Conducting a fair, impartial and secure election in the precinct polling place, allowing voting from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Tabulating the vote totals for the precinct and transmitting the results to Election Central after the polls close at 7 p.m.


Click here for the online application to serve as a Judge of Election in Chicago.  Please not that an updated paper application will be made available soon. Check back.

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 absentee voting, nursing-home voting or in post-election counting activities in the warehouse.

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. In recent elections, more than 4,000 students have helped administer elections in Chicago. Click here for general information on Student Judges of Election.