Serving as an Election Judge

Serving as an election judge is a chance to learn about elections, and is a great service to the community. Election Judges help guarantee that the rights of voters are protected and are responsible for administering election procedures in polling location on election day.

Pay

Election judges are paid for training and work in the polls on election day. The rate is $11.50 an hour for regular judges and $13.50 an hour for lead judges. 

Time off work

By law, your employer must give you time off to work as an election judge. You must give your employer at least 20 days written notice. Your employer can reduce your salary or wages by the amount you are paid as an election judge.

Duties

Judges open and close the polls, register new voters at the polling location, distribute ballots, protect voter privacy, calculate and certify results. 

Main election judge positions

  • The Head/Lead Judge is in charge of the polling place.
  • The Greeter Judge directs traffic flow and maintains order.
  • The Roster/Registration Judge signs in voters who registered in advance and registers voters who did not register in advance.
  • The Demonstration Judge explains how to mark a ballot.
  • The Ballot Judge gives ballots to voters.
  • The Ballot Counter Judge oversees the ballot box area and gives out “I Voted” stickers.
  • The Health Care Facility Absentee Ballot Judge delivers ballots to voters who reside in a health care facility or hospital.

Eligibility Requirements

To serve as an election judge, you must:

  • Be eligible to vote in Minnesota
  • Be able to read, write, and speak English.

However, an election judge cannot be a candidate in the election, be closely related to a candidate or closely related to another election judge in the same precinct. (Closely related means a spouse, parent, child, or sibling.)

Training

You must complete an election judge training course before you serve. You will attend a class at least two hours in length, and your certification is valid for two years.

Student Election Judge Trainees

Students age 16 and 17 can be election judge trainees. 

Qualifications

To serve, students must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen 
  • Be in good academic standing at a Minnesota high school (or home schooled)
  • Obtain school and parental permission
  • Serve in the county where they reside

Like other judges, they do not have to serve the entire day; they cannot work past 10 p.m. Trainees are assigned the same duties as other judges, with the exception of tasks requiring party affiliation. Trainees must attend and complete the same training as other judges.

Applying

If you are interested in becoming an election judge, please complete the online Election Judge Application.