Tricounty News

Election Judges Needed City of Watkins

Election judges are paid officials who staff local polling places and ensure that the rights of voters are protected on Election Day. Election judges must be at least

18 years old. Typically, these election officials serve in polling places near their homes.

Elections judges are essential to our democracy. Serving as an election judge provides an opportunity to learn more about the election process and is a great service to our community.

Official Duties: set up the polling place; direct voters to the correct line; register voters; ensure all qualified voters are permitted to vote; demonstrate how to vote; distribute ballots to voters; assist voters; operate voting equipment; close down polling place following voting; determine results after polls close.

Required Qualifications: to serve as election judge you must be a U.S. citizen; be a Minnesota resident; not have had your voting rights revoked; read, write and speak English; attend a two-hour training session. You cannot be the spouse, parent, child, or sibling of any election judge serving in the same precinct; the candidate or the spouse, parent, child, stepchild or sibling of any candidate on the ballot in that precinct.

Preferred Qualifications: ability to communicate clearly with voters; enjoy assisting and serving diverse populations; be available to work long hours; handle stressful situations calmly; demonstrate attention to detail; general math skills.

Days and Hours of Work: election judges work the primary election (August 14, 2012), the general election (November 6, 2012) or both. Polls are open from

7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Judging shifts are from 6:00 a.m. to approximately 9:00 p.m. (or whenever closing activities are finished); 6:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; and 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Preference will be given to individuals who are able to serve all day.

Compensation for Time: You can choose to volunteer your time or to be compensated. Watkins election judges are compensated at a rate of $8 per hour. The city provides refreshments and meals on Election Day.

Time Off from Employment to Serve: by law your employer must give you paid time off to serve as an election judge. To qualify, you must provide your employer with at least 20 days written notice, and the pay rate form you receive from local election officials when you are hired to serve as an election judge. Your employer may reduce your salary or wages by the amount you are paid as an election judge during the time you are away from work. Your employer may restrict the number of its employees serving as election judges to no more than 20 percent at a single work site.

How to Become an Election Judge: complete an application available at City Hall. Attend a political party's precinct caucus, and if you are eligible to vote on Election Day, request to be on a list of volunteers to an election judge. All appointments are made by the City Council at least 25 days before an election.

If you are interested in serving as an election judge, please contact City Hall at 320-764-6400 or stop by to pick up an application. Training will be held in July at Meeker County Courthouse

Published in the Tri-County News Thursdays, May 24 and 31, 2012.