Election Day: Chicago high school students serve as judges at polls through Mikva Challenge program

Tuesday, November 8, 2022
Chicago high schoolers serve as election judges at polls
Chicago high school students are serving as polling place judges through Mikva Challenge for Illinois Election Day 2022.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- High school students Niah Jones and Carlos Zambrano-Cruz are getting a hands-on civics lesson on Election Day.

"It's a lot of work," Jones said.

"It started off very stressful," Zambrano-Cruz said.

SEE ALSO | 2022 Midterm Illinois Election Results: Who won governor race, U.S House and Senate seats?

More than 1,300 students are staffing 600 Chicago polling precincts as election judges. It's part of Mikva Challenge's student election judges program. The young people have to take part in about four to six hours of training to become election judges.

"The goal is to give students a front seat to the democratic process and better understand how our electoral process works," said Mikva Challenge Communications Director Gabrielle Lamplugh.

"When I saw that Mikva Challenge was offering students a place to work in a polling place, I decided I wanted that because I needed work experience," Jones said.

But Lamplugh said students gain much more than work experience.

RELATED | Potential 'firsts' this Election Day: Black, women, LGBTQ+ candidates could make history in 2022

"We actually found that of the students that participate in our election judges program, 98% report that they plan to vote in a future election and 94% are going to go home and talk to their friends and family about the importance of voting," she said.

Zambrano-Cruz and Jones are planning to register to vote as soon as they're eligible and they hope other young people will too

"It's important to vote and to know what you are voting for," he said.