Election judges from around Cook County were honored Wednesday by Cook County Clerk David Orr - for their longevity and their dedication to helping the county run elections.
"You are our front-line workers," Orr said. "It takes an army, 10,000 of you, to run an election."
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Two honorees from each township were selected for the honor. The judges were nominated by a clerk's office staff member, township committeemen, township supervisors or other election judges.
Perry Nelson, of Des Plaines, has worked every election for 35 years.
"The only way to bring about change is at the grass-roots level," said Nelson, 55. "Democracy starts not only with your vote, but your involvement."
Judges work a 16-hour shift on Election Day starting at 5 a.m. They set up the polling place and election equipment, assist voters, and secure votes at the end of the night. All judges, even veterans, attend regular trainings to learn new procedures and techniques.
Registered voters who want to work as an election judge for the Nov. 2 election can apply online.
Northwest suburban judges among the honorees are:
• Barrington Township: Bonnie Canby and Sharon Anuskewicz.
• Elk Grove Township: Bertha Hinton and Leonard Mosher Jr.
• Hanover Township: Julie Hernandez and Terese Schwartz.
• Leyden Township: Claire Jensen and Michael Quaid.
• Maine Township: Roselle Ginsburg and Perry Nelson.
• Palatine Township: Cathy Pizarro and Bonnie Haferkamp.
• Schaumburg Township: Antoinette Bugay and Pamela Summers.
• Wheeling Township: Patrick Wargo and Adam Gibson.
Township coordinators honored include Mary Jo Imperato, a Republican from Hanover Township.