Election judges have quit and polling places are opting out as COVID-19 concerns heighten

CHICAGO -- Concerns about the COVID-19 virus are causing major challenges for election officials in Chicago and Cook County.

With the Illinois Primary just 4 days away, hundreds of elections judges have quit and polling places are opting out.

"Our problems occur on two fronts, one is that 50 polling places have closed to date that number seems to be growing," said Edmund Michalowski, Deputy clerk of elections for Cook County.

The county is moving many of those polling places that have opted out to courthouses which will house multiple precincts.

They have also lost more than 800 election judges, 10 percent of what they will need.

This afternoon the county held a training class for new judges, but far more will be needed.

It is also using targeted advertising online to recruit younger judges.

The Chicago Board of Elections has lost more than 100 polling places and counting along with hundreds of judges as well.

The underlying issue: most election judges are older putting them in the group considered most vulnerable to the virus.

Louisiana has delayed its primary from April 4th until June 20th in response to the pandemic.

But at least at this point Illinois will go ahead with its Primary on Tuesday.