As some of you know, I’ve been an election judge for several years at the NIU Recreation Center, which serves four student precincts in one polling place.

Let’s start with the student early voting at the Student Center, though. In the papers it said about 300 students voted there across four days in October.

That’s not bad I guess, but since the DeKalb County Clerk had to buy more machines to fulfill the requirement, to the tune of $20,000, that’s about $66 per vote even without including staff time. I’m comfortable calculating it this way because the expense might be a one-time expense. It was an experiment, you see. They may not use these machines again.

To the best of my recollection the midterm General in 2006 yielded a bit over 30 ballots cast in my precinct. This time our grand total was 18, most of them cast during the dinner hour so we were in single digits a good part of the day.

There was a refreshing development in that we had several 17-year-olds working as election judges. These young people are not even old enough to vote, but are trained judges. They got a lot of homework done. Some of their friends were working at other polling places and there was some inevitable texting, so the young NIU judges were aware that there were busier precincts elsewhere.