DuPage County clerk boosts pay for election judges

Election judges will receive a significant pay raise for working primary polling places in DuPage County.

Judges will see their base pay increase from $130 to $250 - or almost double - for Election Day duties. County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek on Wednesday announced the pay hike. DuPage has the second-highest number of registered voters in Illinois.

Election authorities have already trained nearly 2,000 judges but are still looking for a couple hundred more to hit their target of at least eight election judges per polling place in the primary, Kaczmarek said. Early voting is now underway at the county fairgrounds in Wheaton.

"This pay increase is long overdue," Kaczmarek said in a statement. "It was necessary years before the ongoing pandemic and labor shortage."

The increase will make judges' pay in DuPage more comparable to what election workers receive in other counties.

In suburban Cook County, most workers receive $200 on Election Day, but experienced staff members with extra duties can make as much as $365 that day. In Kane County, pay also varies depending on the type of responsibilities, but the majority of Election Day poll workers receive $250, according to the clerk's office.

Judges in DuPage work roughly 15 hours on Election Day from start to finish, with an additional hour the previous afternoon for setting up polling places. Their pay will increase from about $8 per hour to over $15.

During the height of the pandemic, 2020 general election judges received $130 in base pay, plus another $130 as a "COVID-19 supplement" while vaccines were still unavailable. This year's raise to $250 is the first increase to the base pay rate for DuPage election judges in decades, according to the clerk's office.

"Election judges are our most precious resource. Elections cannot happen without them," Kaczmarek said. "We cannot thank them enough for their service."

Election judges typically are responsible for preparing polling locations, welcoming voters, verifying voter registration and issuing ballots, as well as helping to ensure voters understand the process and can use the equipment.

Residents can apply to become an election judge by signing up on the clerk's website at The primary is June 28.

• Daily Herald staff writer Jake Griffin contributed to this report

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