This week I completed the four online training modules required to serve as an election judge with the Chicago Board of Elections. Some of the material in the training is basic good sense about treating people courteously, dressing professionally, and not influencing peoples’ votes (!), but lots of it is quite technical and detailed, and I’m relatively certain I’m going to forget, for example, the precise responsibilities of a judge at station 1 versus a judge at station 2.

But I’m trained and I have the certificate to prove it.

Is this the foundation on which free and fair democratic elections rest, a wide-eyed citizenry with peel off name badges and a few hours of online training? Throughout the training I kept thinking, “Surely there’s someone else, some experienced election professional with a phone and a clipboard who knows how to reboot the touchscreen voting booth turn away politicos inside the 100 foot no-campaigning zone.” I kept waiting to learn about the team of experts who diffuse polling place chicanery and administer technical support. I’m still waiting.

Perhaps the real foundation of free and fair elections is a mature and patient citizenry that resists such chicanery and can endure a certain level of technical disruption.

2 thoughts on “Judge

  1. Well said as ever, Rocky. I remember going to my local library branch, previous home of early voting, and seeing people just on the fair side of the traffic cones marked No Campaigning Beyond This Point. Watch them test your limits!

  2. Many moons ago when I was young(over 50 years ago) I was an election judge a few times in Chicago. There was always one judge or sometimes another person waling around and in and out and they knew everything and helped me a lot. Hopefully it is the same now. Thanks for doing this. Jerry and I can’t given our age and underlying medical stuff.

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