Election judges of all types

The 2010 elections drew election judges of all ages and types in Champaign County. Many students take the opportunity to become an election judge, like Shawnae Montagueo, junior in AHS and Brian Oebitsky, senior in LAS.

“I really had fun with in high school just being involved and it had been awhile,” Montagueo said. “Also I don’t have any classes on Tuesday so I guess it was a way to get involved and you know get back in action with the election and everything.”

People between the ages of 16 and 18 can be an election judge trainee. Students aged 18 and above can be an official election judge that counts toward the minimum number of election judges served.

“I don’t like getting up at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday, but the idea of helping democracy work is really important,” said Brian Levitsky, an election judge at ISR and senior in LAS. “It’s something I actually look forward to.”

16-year-old Andrew McCue, of Mahomet, Ill. was a trainee for the first time, because it is a “great experience and he “hopes it will look good on a resume.” He wanted to find a way to support the voting process at the age of 16.

Others have been judges for a while, like Michael Miller of Champaign who does it because he is retired and Michael Brant who has been a judge since 2004.

“I find it interesting and challenging and just a part of community and public service,” Brant said.

The role of the election judge is to determine if the person coming into vote is registered to vote in this precinct, and they’re not registered to vote in this precinct the judge tries to find which one. They then check the record books they have on the table. Next, the judge has the voter sign an application to vote, accept it and sends the voter to the next station, to get a ballot.

Montagueo said there’s a lot of training and protocol that goes into the process to becoming an election judge. Judges practice the different types of situations that judges encounter with different voters, like if a voter is in the wrong precinct.

Champaign resident and voter judge Leland Andrews described what makes the whole voting process fascinating.

“Just knowing the process, getting to know something about the process and I have a lot of respect for the people who put this whole thing together now,” Andrews said. “You just went and voted but we know all of the behind the scenes stuff and it takes a lot of work of the County Clerk’s part and his staff.”

Other judges felt a duty to participate.

“I wasn’t allowed to vote one time,” said Darnell Cambell, election judge at the McKinley Foundation. “So, I decided that I didn’t want anybody else to gotta go through that.”

For Jennifer Putman, the duty to serve as a judge came from her long background in elections.

“My earliest memories of elections are of my parents having our apartment serve as a polling place so I’ve been exposed to elections since I was four years old,” Putman said.

Putman said her excitement for elections keeps her up the night before.

And some judges just wanted to try out the experience. Jerome Dryan, started as an election judge with his son and loved it. He was then one for twelve years and thinks it’s his “patriotic duty.”

“It helps determine the course of history,” Students need to be more informed of the common issues than older people do.”

Judy Dalton, an election judge for three years thought the day turned out great.

“Turn on the new tonight and we’ll see,” Dalton said.