I was recently appointed to chairman of a new committee, the Cook County Republican Election Integrity Committee. This committee was formed by Cook County Republican Chairman, Aaron Del Mar. In addition, Trudy Barrie has been appointed Vice Chair of Cook County Elections and Evelyn Reid as Vice Chair of Chicago Elections. Both Trudy and Evelyn have the awesome responsibility of recruiting Republican election judges for Cook County and Chicago. In addition to election judges, the Committee will oversee other work related to election integrity.
Election integrity in Illinois requires a partisan perspective as part of the security process. It is the law. Conceptually, with dueling political parties as the administrators of the vote in the polling place, via election judges, the vote is safeguarded. Five Democrat and Republican election judges are assigned to polling places based on a formula of 2 Republicans:3 Democrats or 3 Republicans:2 Democrats. Overall, when one party or another dominates a particular county, the ratio of election judges favors that party.
Besides Election Day, there are additional places in the voting process where election judges are placed. These include warehouse judges, early voting judges, and nursing home judges, etc. The Committee will focus on these positions, too.
Theoretically, the assignment of election judges in Illinois is initially done by the political parties in each county. The Republican or Democrat County Chairman works with their committeemen to choose election judges to represent them. The statutes lay out time frames within which they must accomplish this. Initially, election authorities (EA) work with the parties to locate and assign election judges. 45 days before the election, the law allows that EA’s can fill open slots with anyone, regardless of party. If an area heavily favors one party, these open slots generally go to that party. As a result, voters will commonly see Democrats or Republicans openly admitting they are serving as an election judge for the opposing party.
In the past, Cook County and Chicago Republicans have not had coordinated efforts to fill all of their spots. In Chicago and Cook County, Republicans have filled about 25% of their positions with Republicans. As a result many polling places are unrepresented by “real Republicans”.
Cook County Republican Chairman Aaron Del Mar, in concert with Chicago Republican Chairman Adam Robinson, has taken the unprecedented move to assign Cook County committees to election security. Both Chairmen are committed to this program. This is a volunteer-based effort to place Republican election judges into every precinct in Chicago and Cook County!