When Mr. Hass announced that students had the opportunity to become Judges of Election for the general election back in September, I was instantly intrigued. Since I will not turn eighteen until January, I knew that being a Judge of Election would be the best opportunity to participate in such an incredibly polarizing election.
A Judge of Election has several different jobs: They can register people to vote, hand out ballots, verify signatures, help disabled voters, and ensure all paper ballots go into the ballot box, and they are mostly there just to ensure that everything goes smoothly and orderly. I was given the duty to initial and hand out ballots to voters, so every time a voter came to my table, I verified their application to vote and handed them an initialed paper ballot. My polling place, the Glen Ellyn Public Library, only had one AccuVote TSX machine (an electronic ballot machine) which was not very popular since most voters wanted to get in and out very quickly.
During my fifteen hours of being a Judge of Election, I met 1,100 people. There was a steady stream of voters, and some people were extremely excited to be participating in such an important election whereas others seemed reluctant to fill out their ballots. There were mothers with young children, millennials, and elderly people, among others. All of these people took time out of their day to participate in such a historic event. Ever since the election, the image that has stuck out in my mind is the one of a wheelchair-bound man who had ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Despite the difficulty of mobility, he still participated in the election. This exemplifies the idea that no matter the difficulty, people needed to vote, for the election is powered by the public. It was absolutely incredible, and I felt lucky to witness those who were voting for either the first time or the twentieth time.
The most exciting part of the day was printing out the receipts from the AccuVote TSX machine and the Optical Scan Tabulator (the paper ballot box). As the results slowly printed, my fellow judges and I waited with great anticipation. Regardless of our party affiliation, we were excited to hear who had won at our polling place. To view the results of the election from DuPage County, click here.
For the next election in 2018, I highly recommend becoming a Judge of Election. It is an awesome way to volunteer (and get paid!) in our community and fulfill your civic duty.