High School Students Will Watch Over Polls On Election Day

MONTICELLO--Election judges are tasked with the responsibility of making sure ballots are cast correctly, and this election season, one Central Illinois county is turning to a new demographic for help facilitating this democratic process.

Even though she's only a junior in high school, Bethany Burger gets to cut class and head to the polls on November 4th.

"Since I can't vote myself, this way I can still help out with the whole process," said Burger, a 16-year-old enrolled at Monticello High School.

Burger is one of eight kids that will make the switch from student to election judge for the first time in Piatt County.

"We got information from Douglas County first because they have been doing it for a while," said Piatt County Clerk, Colleen Kidd. "And we sent letters to all the unit school districts in the county so they can get younger people interested in the voting process."

Juniors and seniors in high school, to be exact, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher that had permission from their parents and school. And were willing to sit through hours of training for a lesson on the ins and outs of casting a ballot.

"You have to open up the door at the time that the polls open, and you have to unlock it and say, 'the polls are now open," said Sam Kunde, another student election judge from Monticello High School. "And I was like, 'that's a responsibility, really?' But they're just simple things that you have to do, and of course I can handle that."

And Kidd thinks they'll be better at handling the newer technologies popping up at the polls.

"I'm electronically challenged," said Kidd. "So I'm hoping that they will be able to help out the election judges at the polling places with the touch screen."

As they learn about how to get in touch with local politics despite their youth.

"I'm really excited to be a part of the democratic process, which I've always looked forward to as a kid," said Kunde. "And just be one of the kids behind the desk."

A different kind of desk than what he's used to in the classroom.
Current Conditions