WOODSTOCK – McHenry County residents who may be called in for jury duty now can fill out their questionnaires via the Internet.
Prospective jurors receive the questionnaire through the mail, but now will have the option to log in online to complete their information. It also can be returned by mail or fax.
The batch of questionnaires to be sent out next week will have the online option, which requires a bar code number and birthdate to sign in.
The questionnaires request basic identifying information, such as name and age, as well as employment information and if the person is a party to a pending civil or criminal case.
Requests for an excuse, such as extreme financial burden or an obligation to provide care for dependents, also can be made.
Court officials began looking into the online option about 18 months ago and contracted with Justice Systems Inc. in December. After a development and testing phase, the new system called Jury+ Web Solutions went live Sept. 27.
The total cost of the project was $13,350 with an ongoing support and maintenance contract, according to a news release from the 22nd Circuit Court.
The goals include reducing the cost of postage, handling, sorting and filing, as well as cutting back on or eliminating lost and damaged documents.
To qualify for jury duty in the 22nd Circuit, a person must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of McHenry County, understand English, and be at least 18 years old.
Jurors are selected from lists of licensed drivers, registered voters, state ID card holders, and disabled person ID card holders.
The lists are combined into a single juror database and for each week of jury service, a computer picks names at random.