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The Will County Clerk's Office announced this week it will increase the pay for election judges who work at polling places for the Nov. 3 general election amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The judges will be paid $250 for working this election, a $100 increase from previous elections, according to a news release. This is a one-time increase for the 2020 election and is covered through federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act.
“The pay increases show our deep appreciation for the valuable service our Election Judges and Early Voting workers provide to voters during what is certain to be an unprecedented Presidential Election,” Will County Clerk Lauren Staley Ferry said in the release. “We understand that assisting the public during a pandemic creates significant health safety concerns. In addition to providing extra compensation, we want them to know we’re doing everything we can to keep them safe when they are assisting voters.”
The clerk's office also detailed the myriad safety protocols it has planned to minimize the exposure to the novel coronavirus. The office is providing supplies like protective equipment and cleaning materials to judges at polling places and early voting locations.
Staley Ferry also acknowledged the additional work election judges will have to perform including the wiping down of pens, voting booths and other commonly used surfaces with disinfectant cloths throughout the day. Judges will also be asked to encourage voters to wear face coverings and maintain proper social distancing.
“We all have had extensive personal experience protecting ourselves in public places during the pandemic,” Staley Ferry said in the release. “We go into this election with a better understanding of how to keep ourselves safe and with all the supplies and equipment needed to minimize risk.”
Charles B. Pelkie, Staley Ferry's chief of staff, said the clerk's office has hired an adequate number of judges and typically uses more than 1,700.