Election judges being sought ahead of elections

Published 6:10 pm Thursday, May 2, 2024

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With the busy part of an election cycle nearly upon us, the call is being put out for people to serve as election judges.

According to Austin City Clerk Brianne Wolf, they are looking to have election judges signed up by the middle of June, prior to the start of training for election judge certification on June 18 and will go into the beginning of July.

Each election judge, regardless of whether or not they have served in the past, will have to go through two hours of training during that time in order to be certified. Things discussed during training will include the different roles of election judges, checking in people to vote, ballot machines, how to help people in showing them how to fill out ballots and de-escalation tactics.

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“It’s continuously retraining judges; making sure they are up to date on any new statutes and laws,” Wolf said. “Just making sure they are comfortable before getting into a polling location.”

There will be one key change in how election judges will work on voting days. In the past election judges have worked one shift between 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. However, there will now be half shifts available between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The goal is to get anywhere from 12-15 judges at each of the six polling locations in Austin.

“We feel it’s going to be a very high turnout year,” Wolf said. 

Wolf went on to say that being an election judge can be a rewarding experience and is an important part of the right of citizenship in the United States.

“It’s a great opportunity to serve the community,” she said.

The filing period opened on May 1 and will remain open through June 4. In the city there will be several seats up for election including the mayor’s seat currently held by Steve King. Additionally, there is a First Ward seat held by Geoff Baker, a Second Ward seat held by Mike Postma and a Third Ward seat held by Paul Fischer that will be up for election along with three seats on the Utilities Board.

Wolf also noted that the Primary Election is on Aug. 13 and the General Election is on Nov. 5.

To learn more about being an election judge, people can pick up a pamphlet at City Hall or other locations around Austin or they can call City Hall at 1-507-437-994. There is also an application form located on the city’s website at https://www.ci.austin.mn.us/