Expected low voter turnout in the April 9 election has St. Clair County officials continuing the practice of reducing the number of election judges at slower precincts.
The county anticipates saving about $50,000 by staffing 121 precincts with three judges instead of five, according to County Clerk Bob Delaney. The 84 precincts with contentious races or relatively high turnout will continue to have five judges.
"In locations that have big elections, like the city of Belleville, we will have five judges," Delaney said. "We are reducing them in precincts that don't have really big fights."
The practice began in 2009 and is only used during non-presidential elections, Delaney said.
Precincts in East St. Louis and Madison County will have five election judges, according to local election officials.
Election judges in St. Clair County earn between $150 or $200 per day depending on whether they completed a training session.
In comparison, election judges in Madison County make $150 per day -- of which $25 is for training and $25 reimburses testing fees. In East St. Louis, which has its own election board, judges earn $120 per day -- $35 of which for attending a training session.
Delaney said election judges repeatedly failing to attend the class will not be hired again.
Voter turnout is expected to be lower than in the November election, which featured the presidential election.
In St. Clair County, Delaney said he anticipated an overall turnout between 15 percent and 20 percent. In Madison County, County Clerk Debra Ming-Mendoza said the historical turnout for a ballot without presidential candidates is about 20 percent.
In East St. Louis, Election Board Executive Director Kandrise Mosby said she hoped for a 30 percent turnout.
"Hopefully people will still have enthusiasm about getting out and making a choice," Mosby said. Mosby recently became the executive director of the East St. Louis Election Board after serving as interim executive director since August.
Absentee ballots can now be cast for the coming election. Applications to vote absentee became available last week on the St. Clair County Clerk's website at www.countyclerk.co.st-clair.il.us. Applications can also be picked up at the clerk's office in the St. Clair County Courthouse at 10 Public Square in Belleville.
East St. Louis voters can pick up absentee voter applications at 301 River Park Drive, Suite 300, in East St. Louis. Madison County voters can download an application to vote absentee at www.madisonvotes.com or at the clerk's office at 157 N. Main St. in Edwardsville.
Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2501.