Champaign County Upgrades Jury Questionnaires
By Sean Powers
Jury selection questionnaires are getting a face-lift in Champaign County.
The county sends out about 13,000 paper questionnaires each year with a self-addressed postage stamp, but Circuit Clerk Katie Blakeman said only about 30 percent of them are returned
Under the new system, people will receive postcards that give them the option to fill out the questionnaire online, by text message, or through an automated phone system. Blakeman said she hopes this new digital format increases the response rate, and leads to a more diverse jury pool.
“We will hopefully then have a larger pool from which to draw, whch would hopefully assist in the formation of juries that are more representative of the makeup of our community,” Blakeman said.
Blakeman estimated the new system will save the county roughly $5,000 a year in mailing and printing costs. She also said when people are summoned for jury duty, they will have the option to sign up for e-mail or text message alerts notifying them if they don’t have to show up to court the next day.