CHICAGO – No vax, no officiating in Chicago elections before November 8th, election judges are being told – riling non-Democrats that want to be involved in making sure Chicago elections are fair and just.
Illinois Review received a tip from our readers Monday that they had called to ask about election judge qualifications because they had been told they would need to show proof of COVID vaccination in order to serve as election judges or poll watchers. The readers were outraged about the information the board was giving out.
Illinois Review followed up with the Chicago Board of Elections, and was told the following by Max Bever, the department’s spokesperson:
“To clarify, there is no vaccination requirement or mask mandate to serve as an Election Judge or Coordinator on Election Day in Chicago,” Bever said in an emailed statement.
“However, there is a vaccination requirement to serve as an Early Voting Official for one of the 52+ Early Voting sites. This is a direct contracted hire through the Chicago Board of Election and applicants must comply with Board staff policy, which includes being vaccinated for COVID-19. Early Voting Officials earn $17 per hour and are hired for 2+ week contracts. Click here for that application link,” Bever wrote.
So, the very same people that have trained to officiate the elections before November 8th will need to be vaccinated, but not on November 8th?
The Chicago Board of Elections’ application gives the following requirements for election officials:
Requirements to Serve as a Judge of Election
Judges of Election must meet all of the requirements listed in the application, including being:
– a US citizen
– a registered voter in Cook County (if 18 or older)
– able to speak, read and write English
There is no mention of COVID vaccination requirement until further into the process, we are told.
Bever also said COVID masks are not required in Chicago polling places or Early Voting sites – they are recommended, but not required.
The policy the Chicago Board of Election is requiring as to COVID vaccination proof is unacceptable, said Carol Davis of the Illinois Conservative Union. Davis has been focusing on election integrity for the past few years.
“The policy outlined by the Chicago Board of Elections is unacceptable. Based on Illinois statutes, the functions, responsibilities and contact with the public of those performing the role of Election Judge are the same, whether performed on Election Day or during the (ridiculous) 40-day Early Voting period in Illinois,” she said in an email.
She then made a strong accusation concerning the Chicago machine.
“This is clearly an effort by the Chicago machine to suppress the rights of Republicans to have an equal presence throughout election ‘season.’ Logic and reason must prevail in this situation – no mandates should be imposed upon any election worker or poll watcher.”
The Republican National Committee has reportedly sued in other states over similar policies and won their cases.
An independent group has created the Illinois Fair Elections Coalition Statewide Ballot Integrity Hotline number for situations such as these that may require legal counsel.
UPDATE: The number to be used for public queries about the election is 312.201.9000.