Election Judge Eleanor Powell honored from Park Forest
Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)-The satisfaction Miriam Crusing gets out of being an election judge can be summed up with one experience – helping a blind man vote who for years had needed assistance at the polling place to vote independently in a Worth Township precinct.
“His wife would help him and when we got the touch screens, he was like a little boy in a candy store,” said Crusing, a 45-year election judge veteran from Oak Lawn. “And he comes in every year, and he does the touch screen and it’s just so fulfilling to watch him.”
Miriam was one of a select group of 30 suburban Cook County election judge honorees who attended Cook County Clerk David Orr’s annual election judge recognition ceremony at the County Building, 69 W. Washington St. Clerk Orr was joined by staff, including Director of Elections Noah Praetz, and WBBM radio political editor Craig Dellimore, who served as the Master of Ceremonies. Of nearly 10,000 election judges, 75 were selected for special recognition and invited to attend.
“There’s a lot of talent in this room,” Orr told the judges and their guests. “The one thing that all of you share is that you will go that extra mile to make our elections run smoothly.”
Pointing out the many judges who have served for 20 years or more, and all who have served in multiple consecutive elections, Orr remarked, “your dedication to our democracy is really remarkable.”
“As new judges join your ranks and changes come every cycle now to the election process, you demonstrate the leadership to guide these new judges and the savvy to work gracefully through these changes,” Orr said.
One of those experienced judges is Mildred W. Johnson of Hazel Crest, an election judge since 1983. Mildred said the work has given her “a feeling of giving back” and while election judges get paid a stipend, “It’s not about what you get,” she said, “it’s what you give that makes the difference.”
Johnson said she enjoys serving her community and getting her neighbors excited about voting. “Getting a disgruntled person is really good,” she said, “because you can calm them down, and before you know it they may want to become an election judge.”
Dellimore, a longtime political reporter at WBBM radio, has witnessed firsthand the work of these judges on Election Day, from the time they report to the polling place early in the morning to when they leave, often some 16 hours later.
“I have always thought of the election judges as kind of the unsung heroes of our elections,” Dellimore said.
Brian Wolf, 27, has been an election judge for 10 years, beginning when he was in high school and most recently at the Early Voting site at the Evanston Civic Center. “Democracy is made up of a lot of small voices and being an election judge helps those voices get heard,” Wolf said. He delights at seeing everyone’s voices and opinions come “together into one big pot, and that’s what democracy is, isn’t it?”
Below is a list of honorees listed by their hometowns.
|James Strasma||Arlington Heights|
|Earl Jackson, Sr.||Bellwood|
|Philip Santoyo||Blue Island|
|Susan Lee Bencur-Picman||Burbank|
|Gwendolyn Burrell||Calumet City|
|Otherine Preston||Calumet City|
|Maria Judith Carrera||Chicago|
|Deborah Waiters||Chicago Heights|
|Glennie White||Chicago Heights|
|Elizabeth Buncis||Chicago Heights|
|Genoris Gordon||Country Club Hills|
|Benjamin Agana||Des Plaines|
|Erlinda Agana||Des Plaines|
|Brian Wolf||Des Plaines|
|Joseph Davis||Elmwood Park|
|Beata Smyla||Elmwood Park|
|David Shipman||Forest Park|
|William Fox, Jr.||Glenview|
|Mildred Johnson||Hazel Crest|
|Joyce Madison||Hazel Crest|
|Linda Mantegna||Hickory Hills|
|Malgorzata Stoch||Hickory Hills|
|Nathan Polak||Hoffman Estates|
|Maliek Kavonne Walls||Lemont|
|Robert Cook||Oak Lawn|
|Miriam Crusing||Oak Lawn|
|Karen Bara||Oak Park|
|Jerome Green||Oak Park|
|Deborah Puschkar||Orland Park|
|Thomas Sipple||Palos Park|
|Eleanor Powell||Park Forest|
|Ioannis Avgerinos||Park Ridge|
|Amelia Loiacono||Park Ridge|
|Donna Schwarz||River Forest|
|Gwenda Kimbrough Blouin||Worth|
Please view an online photo album of the event.