In the polling place, the judges are responsible for ensuring that the electoral process is administered fairly and in accordance with federal and state election laws. Election judges serve as officers of the circuit court and swear to uphold the constitution of the United States and the State of Illinois in performing their duties.
All judges in the polling place have equal authority and responsibility regardless of their length of service. There is no “head” judge. All decisions must be made in accordance with the election laws and a majority vote of all judges. However, each judge may act alone to enforce election laws. Judges should rotate the various duties during the day.
Only judges can handle the election materials, supplies and ballots.
The polls are open from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. Judges are required to report at the polling place in which they are serving by 5:00 a.m. and are required to remain until after the polls close and all forms, certificates and affidavits are completed and signed, and all election materials are packaged for return to the County Building. Two judges (one from each political party) must return to the County Building at the end of the night.
Judges are required to maintain order in the polling place throughout Election Day. All persons present in the polling place, or within the campaign free zone (within 100 horizontal feet of any such room), must obey any lawful order of the judges. All serious problems should be reported to the election authority and the judges do have the authority to evict any person creating a disturbance. Judges must monitor the polling place throughout the day to ensure no electioneering is taking place within the campaign free zone.
More specific duties of the judges are included in the Judges’ Manual - Instructions and Guidelines for Election Day Procedures and are provided to the judges at the time of training.