Editorial - Consider being an election judge this NovemberIf you’re looking for a way to get involved in the political process beyond just voting, consider this option: Be an election judge. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie issued a public service announcement last week asking Minnesotans to contact their local election officials and sign-up to serve as an election judge to help administer what he described as “the biggest election in the state’s history” this November 6, 2012.
If you’re looking for a way to get involved in the political process beyond just voting, consider this option: Be an election judge.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie issued a public service announcement last week asking Minnesotans to contact their local election officials and sign-up to serve as an election judge to help administer what he described as “the biggest election in the state’s history” this November 6, 2012.
“Election judges are the backbone of our elections process,” Ritchie said. “I strongly encourage Minnesotans to contact their local election official to find out how they can give back to their communities by serving as an election judge.”
Each election year approximately 30,000 election judges must be recruited to staff the more than 4,100 polling places across Minnesota. Local officials will make the majority of their appointments in May and need more Minnesotans to apply to fill vacancies.
Here’s more information about the duties and responsibilities of election judges provided by Ritchie’s office:
• Election judges administer election procedures in polling places and ensure that voters’ rights are protected and respected on Election Day.
• Duties include setting up the polling place, operating voting equipment, directing voters to the correct line, registering individuals to vote, ensuring all qualified voters are permitted to vote, demonstrating how to vote, distributing ballots to voters, assisting voters, closing down polling place following voting, determine results after polls close and certifying the polling place results.
• Election judges typically serve in polling places near their homes and receive payment for their services, unless they choose to serve as volunteers. By law, employers must give election judges time off from work to serve.
• To be an election judge, individuals must be eligible to vote in Minnesota on Election Day and be able to read, write and speak English. They must attend a two-hour training session provided by local election officials. Students age 16 and 17 can apply to be election judge trainees.
• If you are interested in serving as an election judge, contact your city or township clerk directly.
Election judge or election judge trainee informational brochures and an online “Polling Place Finder” containing the new precinct information can be found on the website, www.mnvotes.org. (This same website, by the way, provides a quick and easy way to find out if you are pre-registered to vote, what your Senate House, congressional and county districts are, where you’ll be voting, maps and directions to get to your polling place and more. It’s well worth checking out.)
Election judges carry a civic responsibility that they can take pride in for years to come.
“Being an election judge is a great way to learn about elections and ensure that Minnesotans are able to exercise their right to vote,” said Ritchie.