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Suburban Cook County Election Judges Hit With Last-Minute Paperwork To Get Paid

CHICAGO (CBS) -- How would you like to work in a pandemic in a very public place – and not get paid?

That is the story we're hearing from several election judges in Cook County. As CBS 2's Jim Williams reported Tuesday night, the election judges say they are getting a runaround that is keeping them from getting their hard-earned cash.

Susan Rohde has a couple reasons for serving as an election judge.

"Particularly for the extra money, but I also do it as a service," she said. "I've been doing it a long time, so I know what I'm doing."

For 15 years, Rohde has worked polling places in the western suburbs. She still hasn't been paid for working Election Day in November, and she was surprised to get a notice just recently from the Cook County Clerk's office - which runs elections in the county suburbs.

"I've never seen that before," Rohde said. "They sent an email over the weekend, and we have to print out these documents and submit them by 5 o'clock today."

But 5 p.m. Tuesday, she had to fill out federal and state tax forms, as well as a pension beneficiary document. Remember - she was only an election judge, which is a freelance position. She even had to enclose a copy of a passport or driver's license.

"One of the forms is to determine my eligibility to work in the United States," Rohde said. "It's a little late for that."

Jason Peters told us he was an election judge here in Cicero. He too got such a notice.

"Basically told me that if I do not fill out the paperwork, and they do not write a check for me by the end of this month, then their books will be closed come the first of the year and I will not be paid at all," Peters said.

He said the county owes him more than $2,000 because his service included the early voting period.

We checked with the Chicago Board of Elections, which runs voting in *city. Spokesman Jim Allen told us they require only a single tax form - not all the documents required by the county.

Still, Rohde filled them out and now waits for a check.

"It's awful," she said. "I mean, Christmas is coming. That's one of the reasons I worked the election."

County spokeswoman Sally Daly said all the documents are the result of IRS and Cook County Personnel Department rules. She added the majority of the election judges have been paid, and said the county is working to process the remaining payments as quickly as possible.

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