Now is the Time to Sign Up to Be an Election Judge
By Nancy Farrar
The Montgomery County Board of Elections needs YOU! Specifically, they need Republicans to sign up, train and serve as election judges for this fall.
There is a distinct disparity in the number of Republican election judges here in Montgomery County as compared to Democrat judges, and given that we are heading into a highly contested general election during the October-November, 2016 time frame, it is critical that we increase the Republican presence in each of our county’s 257 precincts.
Ideally, all positions in a precinct are filled by an equivalent number of judges from each party. An average precinct can have 12-16 judges. Unfortunately, during recent election cycles some precincts have had only one or two Republican judges present at the polls.
In order to serve as an election judge, a person must meet the following qualifications:
- Be a U.S. citizen and a registered Maryland voter
- Be at least 17 years of age
- Clearly and fluently speak, read and legibly write in English
- Successfully complete Stage One (online) and Stage Two (hands-on) training
- Be able to work the hours required for the position selected (this include attending a mandatory meeting on the Monday evening prior to each election at the assigned polling precinct)
- Be willing to deal courteously and patiently with the public and coworkers
Under Maryland law, an election worker may not hold or be a candidate for any elective public or political party office or any office, created under the Constitution or laws of the state, and may not serve as a campaign manager for a candidate or as the treasurer for a campaign finance entity.
Please note that there are a number of different types of election judge positions. Some are all day positions and others are part day positions for those who can’t commit to a full day of service. Be aware that some of these positions require previous experience as an election judge – and if you have served as an election judge before, please consider applying for a Chief Judge position.
The positions at a precinct on Election Day include the following: Chief Judge, Voter Operations Judge, Voter Operations Judge-Driver, Opening Judge (part day) Closing Judge (part day), Line Manager and Greeter. Several additional positions also need to be filled for the county’s nine early voting sites during the early voting time frame. Descriptions of these positions and their requirements can be found here. There is also a special need for Spanish-speaking election judges to be present at each precinct, per the requirements of Section 203 of the 1975 Voting Rights Act.
You can begin the process by filling out an application online or by printing out the form, which can then be submitted in person at the Board of Election offices, by mail, by email (with a scanned form) or by fax. Click here for the application.
The deadline to submit an Election Worker Application for the General Election is October 17th, 2016.
After your application is processed and approved, you will be asked to take a quiz. Usually the quiz is taken online, but it also can be taken at the Board of Elections office. Once you have passed it, you’ll be contacted by your assigned recruiter and scheduled for hands-on training for your assigned position. Election workers are paid for both their training time and for working at a precinct on Election Day; however you are only paid for training time if you actually work on Election Day. The amount that you are paid depends on the position to which you are assigned.
For additional questions about becoming an election judge, please contact the Montgomery County Board of Elections at [email protected] or by calling 240-777-8533.