By Joanne Kosey
For the first time in over 30 years I will not be at my post as an election judge in Precinct 8 at Blythe Park School.
It was a very hard decision and one that is not permanent. I intend to be back at the next election.
I had planned on being a judge when I was contacted a few months back and had even taken the online test, which I passed, I'm glad to say. The only other time I did not work the polls was when I ran for District 208 school board twice (I won both times) and my name was on the ballot.
So why this time? Those of you who are familiar with Blythe Park School know the library polling place is not a big room. It is rather small when all the voting equipment is in and does not meet protocols for social distancing.
Keeping people physically distant will be a problem, as well making sure the polling place has enough ventilation, although there are windows. We were crowded for the March election and the rules were not as strict.
My concern is for the voters as well as the other judges and myself. I have been encouraging people to vote by mail or do early voting, which can still be done at Brookfield Village Hall or the Lyons Village Hall.
I will miss seeing the people and hearing how they are doing. I will particularly miss the first-time voters, congratulating them and explaining to them how the voting works -- once a teacher always a teacher.
The voters will miss out on their candy, which I always have set out -- starlight mints -- and this time probably leftover Halloween candy.
COVID-19 has had people making decisions they ordinarily would not like to make and, for me, this is one of them.
I contacted the Board of Elections to see if safer accommodations could be made, because the school was willing to cooperate. I also contacted Republican Committeeman Mike Dropka, who along with Democratic Committeeman Mike Zalewski bring the judges lunch.
Being an election judge is something I enjoy, and I believe in the system that so many fought for us to have. Is it perfect? No, but they are continually working to make it simpler and safe.
Your vote does count. I know of a case where a good incumbent lost by one vote. So voting matters, and so does kindness.