TREMONT, Ill. —  The 2020 election season is right around the corner and Tazewell County officials want the community to be apart of the process.

The county clerk’s election division is starting election judge training classes. County clerk John Ackerman said the mandatory sessions for the county’s election judges will be held over six days in January.

“All of our election judges will be attending a class like this throughout the month of January,” Ackerman said. ” We offer 13 different sessions.”

Ackerman said each session is about an hour and a half long. He said the classes are refresher courses and go over everything from laws. to voting machinery, to filling out ballots and delivering them. Ackerman said the point is to ensure a fair election.

“The election judges are the first line of defense to make sure we have fair, just elections,” Ackerman said. “So it’s important for them to know what the procedures are, what their roles are in the process and how important the role is in the process.”

Returning election judge Gail Miller said she appreciates her role in the election process. She said the classes give her the chance to be both social and informed.

“I think it’s just a really good opportunity to meet other people especially in a big area like this and just to learn how things are run and how things are kept fairly,” Miller said.

Ackerman also said the county is looking for more people to help serve the community. He said they’re hoping to have about 545 election judges ready for both the primary election on March 17th and the general election on November 3rd.

Ackerman said all election judges in Tazewell County will be paid $165 for their service to their community and the process is as easy as picking up the phone.

“All they need to do is call our offices and we can get them signed up to do one of these training sessions,” Ackerman said.

The sessions take place in the county’s Emergency Management building at 21304 Illinois State Route 9.