URBANA – Actions taken to guard against the coronavirus are hampering primary election day in at least two Illinois counties, creating a shortage of election judges and closing some polling locations.
Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons says more than 100 election judges have dropped out of Tuesday’s election, mostly due to fears of the coronavirus. Ammons says his office rounded up about 50 to 60 replacements, who were given training Monday as what he calls “emergency judges.”
“We feel confident that they can go out to assist in other locations, where more experienced judges may be,” said Ammons. “But we do not feel like we can confidently send them out on their own, to any particular locations.”
Ammons says the drop-out rate among election judges is about five times what Champaign County sees in a typical election. In addition, he says they lost some polling places, such as the public library in Ogden, a public housing project in Urbana, a Champaign church and three firehouses. All of them have been closed to the public, due to coronavirus fears.
Meanwhile, Macon County Clerk Josh Tanner says more than 70 of his election judges have dropped out in the days leading up to the primary more than twice the usual number.
“We’ve had a lot of election judges who’ve fallen into the category where they’ve been recommended not to go out in public,” said Tanner. “And so they’ve called us to cancel. And since this has been a relatively recent event, it’s been difficult to fill all those vacancies.”
As of Monday evening, Tanner said he had enough replacements to fill all the vacancies. But he says many of them have less experience than the election judges who dropped out. Tanner says Macon County typically requires about 350 election judges to staff polling places at each election.
CHANGING POLLING LOCATIONS – March 17, 2020
Clark Lindsey-Urbana: voters will now vote at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 2200 Philo Rd #8002, Urbana
The Glenwood-Mahomet: voters will now vote at Elk’s Pavilion at Lake of the Woods, 301 Senna Drive, Mahomet
Eagle View Retirement Home-Rantoul: voters will now vote at the Gathering Place, First United Methodist Church, 200 S Century Blvd, Rantoul
Cohen Hillel Center-Champaign: voters will now vote at the Illini Union, 1401 W Green St, Urbana or the ARC, 201 E Peabody Dr, Champaign
University YMCA: voters will now vote at the Illini Union, 1401 W Green St, Urbana or the ARC, 201 E Peabody Dr, Champaign
Edge-Scott Fire Department: voters will now vote at the Brookens Administrative Center, 1776 E Washington St, Urbana
Steer Place Community Room: voters will now vote at the Brookens Administrative Center, 1776 E Washington St, Urbana
Carrol Fire Station: voters will now vote at the Brookens Administrative Center, 1776 E Washington St, Urbana
Ogden Rose Library: voters will now vote at the St. Joe Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 802 E Douglas St, St Joseph
Tolono West Fire Station: voters will now vote at the Tolono Public Library, 111 E Main St, Tolono
Free Methodist Church: voters will now vote at the Meadowbrook Community Church, 1902 S Duncan Rd, Champaign