La Salle County Clerk Jo Ann Carretto is rounding up judges for next month's election — the last one she'll be handling.
Carretto is leaving office Nov. 30, having chosen to not seek reelection. She joined the office Oct. 1, 1979, and has headed the office since 2006.
"Some days are bittersweet and some days I tell myself, 'Nov. 30 can't come quick enough!' I'm going to miss a lot of things, but I won't miss some of the craziness. It can get very hectic," Carretto said.
Elections are some of the hectic times.
Carretto and her crew are in the middle of signing up and training election judges for the Tuesday, Nov. 6, balloting. She needs at least 595 of them, five for each of the county's 119 precincts. Many of the slots are filled, but more are needed, in part because Carretto knows from experience some judges will not be able to make it Nov. 6.
The La Salle-Peru area is a bit short of judges, Carretto noted.
The political makeup of each set of five judges is based on a breakdown of the vote by party in that precinct in the last three gubernatorial elections. As an example, the result could be three Republican judges and two Democratic.
Not only adults can be judges, but also high school junior and senior students, even if they are not registered to vote.
Lists of prospective judges are available for public viewing at the county clerk's office, giving anyone a chance to object to a person being a judge. A court hearing is then held, at which any objections are addressed. The court judge next approves or disapproves the prospective election judges. Carretto pointed out the last batch of election judges were approved in August, with no objections.
An election judge's appointment lasts two years and they can make as much as $160 per election.
Anyone interested in serving as a judge can call the county clerk at: 815-434-8202.
Carretto said that as of Tuesday there had been 1,762 early votes cast, of which 36 were from county residents overseas and residents otherwise outside the county in the military. For the 2014 general election, 3,962 early votes were cast. She said it's too early to predict voter turnout on election day.
Early voting can be done during business hours Monday through Friday, but the office is also open 8 a.m. to noon on the Saturdays of Oct. 13, 20 and 27, as well as 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3.
The office will be open the Sundays of Oct. 28 and Nov. 4, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. respectively.
The last day for the clerk to accept an application to vote by mail is Thursday, Nov. 1.