CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill., (WCIA) — “My hands are tied. We’ve done everything that we possibly can,” Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons said.

More than a dozen polling places are being forced to close with Election Day one week away.

Some say the municipal election is the most important. That’s because you’ll be making decisions about the things happening directly in your town.

20 polling places are being dropped in Champaign County because of a shortage of election judges.

Ammons has been asking people to fill the roles, but the numbers still aren’t as strong as they need to be.

“I think we have 175 judges so far, and that’s just not enough to cover all the locations,” he said.

He knows the election can’t properly function that way, and Champaign County is about 55 election judges short to serve the community.

The judges make sure the election process runs smoothly.

“They check in people. If you come in to vote, they’re going to look you up on the computer, find your correct ballot style,” Ammons added.

He said the county consolidated locations in 2021, but not because of a shortage of workers. Instead, just to see how things would go with fewer locations.

Even though it’s come to this, Ammons isn’t worried about voter turnout.

“The people who vote in municipal elections and these types of consolidated elections, it’s usually a smaller number of people and they’re the more dedicated voters,” he said.

Terry Maher, the IL Vote of Champaign County Chair, said that’s music to her ears.

“There is an election and it’ll affect you, and it’ll affect your children if they go to school. It affects everything that goes on in Champaign, Urbana, anywhere in Champaign County,” Maher said. “These are your neighbors who have decided that they want to have a say in how your life is going to be run.”

Ammons said it’s a long training process to be an election judge, and with the day getting closer and closer, he knows this was the right call.

“I can’t just leave those polling locations in limbo, and hope that someone will fill them,” he said.

Ammons added that many people have been voting early. Between mail-in ballots and voting early in person, about 5,000 people have voiced their opinions.

If you haven’t voted yet there’s still time, and this website can help you research the candidates.

Champaign County will still have 47 locations to go to on Election Day.