State: No appropriation for election judges

Did you work as an election judge at one of the many polling places across the state? Don’t expect the state to pay its share of your stipend. The money hasn’t been appropriated.

In yet another example of the state not being able to pay its bills, the partial reimbursement the state typically provides for the cost of election judges is on hold pending appropriation.

Sangamon County Clerk Don Gray said that on top of other election expenses, his office is working within its budget to make up the difference.

“A portion that gets reimbursed to us from the state, $25 per election judge, that hasn’t been budgeted for, so obviously we’re trying to make up that difference as well,” Gray said.

Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten, who also is the president of the Illinois Association of County Clerks and Recorders, said the amount of partial reimbursement depends on the jurisdiction.

For Champaign County, the state typically reimburses up to $45 dollars per election judge “so it’s not an insignificant amount of money,” Hulten said. “It can be $25,000 or $30,000 per election, and some years we have two elections, so that could be $50,000 for us, which is not a small sum.”

Hulten said the lack of a full state budget means they don’t expect to see those funds in the short term, if ever.

Meanwhile, Hulten said, it’s ludicrous the state requires county clerks to have more than 100 percent of ballots available for any given election.

Despite the possibility of low voter turnout, the state requires county clerks around the state to print 110 percent of ballots. In other words, in a county with 1,000 registered voters, 1,100 ballots must be on hand.

Hulten said the mandate is moot because of new election laws allowing things like same-day registration.

“We never know how many registered voters there are in any given precinct at any given time,” he said, “because anyone can walk in at any moment and register to vote.”

Hulten said another layer of ludicrousness is that counties are mandated to print 110 percent of all the different ballots such as Republican federal, Democratic federal and nonpartisan ballots if there’s a referendum.

Lake County, one of the state’s most populous counties, purchased machines to print ballots on demand to address the issue, an expense smaller jurisdictions can’t afford.

–Greg Bishop, Illinois News Network

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