Winnebago, Boone County Clerks prepare for April 4 elections

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 5:21 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Local clerks offices are getting busier and busier, as they gear up for the April 4 elections, testing machines and teaching new election judges.

Early voting kicked off at the end of February in Illinois. Since then, staff working for Winnebago County Clerk Lori Gummow and Boone County Clerk Julie Bliss began a flurry of activity. They say it’s worth it and remind us that if we want to see change locally, it’s up to us to speak up and vote.

“By testing these machines we’re able to demonstrate that the tabulators that we have are recording the votes accurately and effectively,” Gummow told 23 News.

Prior to each election. Gummow implements what is effectively a trial run on the voting machines, which the office underwent on Wednesday.

“We’re running the reports to show that it’s zero, the beginning of the day, and then when we run through the ballots, we make sure they’re actually recording and tabulating the ballots accurately,” she said.

It’s a similar story in Boone County. People are already early voting, and on Saturday, new election judges will be trained.

“They’ll come in and we’ll actually set up what an election should look like when they’re working as a judge in a polling location. We’ll have the equipment out, we’re gonna show them how to use things, how to put things together, how to take things down,” Bliss said.

The April 4 consolidated election is smaller but in some ways mightier. These are positions that will directly impact each community in the Stateline, through jobs like Village Trustees or Local Alders.

“These are all the people who are making the policies for everything that we do whether we’re in a city or visiting the park district or our schools,” Bliss told 23 News.

In some cases, these races are very, very tight.

“There’s been cases time and time again here in Winnebago County where the outcome has been determined by as little as one or two votes, so every vote is important in our community,” Gummow said.

Both Gummow and Bliss say the counties and State have safeguards in place to prevent voting corruption. If you are caught trying to do things like vote twice, you will be arrested.

If you would like to sign up to be an election judge in Boone County, there is still time. There are forms at the County Clerks’ office that you can fill out before Saturday.

For Winnebago County, Friday is not the deadline and you can still sign up in the coming weeks.