Become an Election Judge
Election judges play an important role in administering elections by ensuring the constitutional rights of voters are protected. Serving as an election judge is an opportunity to learn more about election processes and to provide a great service to the community. Below is some information that you may find helpful in deciding if you would like to serve.
To be an election judge you must meet all of the following state and city qualifications:
- Must be at least 18 years of age (student trainee judges may be 16-17 years of age).
- Eligible to vote in Minnesota.
- Able to read, write, and speak English.
- You cannot be a spouse, parent, child, or sibling of any election judge serving in the same precinct at the same time.
- You cannot be a candidate or the spouse, parent, child, or sibling of a candidate on the ballot in that precinct.
City of Chanhassen Qualifications
- Communicate clearly with voters.
- General math skills.
- Comfortable with serving a diverse population.
- Physical stamina.
- Function calmly and professionally in stressful situations.
- Remain impartial in conduct and speech.
- Work as a team member and in support of the Precinct Head Judge.
Responsibilities and Duties
- Attend two hours of required training.
- Protect the rights of voters.
- Administer election procedures according to training.
- Maintain neutrality and impartiality in the polling place.
- Open and/or close the polls.
- Check-in registered voters.
- Responsible for election materials and documents.
- Distribute ballots.
- Register new voters.
- Help voters requiring assistance.
- Set up/take down election equipment.
- Compile the summary statements of the election results.
- Certify the precinct election results.
Right to Time Off from Work to Serve
Your employer is required to give you time off from work to be an election judge without a reduction in pay. To qualify, you must:
- Notify your employer in writing at least 20 days in advance of Election Day.
- Attach a copy of your schedule and pay rate form to your written notice. The schedule and pay rate will be provided by the jurisdiction that hires you as an election judge.
You can voluntarily take a vacation day to be fully paid by your employer and receive the judge salary you earn as extra income. An employer cannot force you to take vacation or any other form of paid leave.
You can give this memo (PDF) to your employer, explaining your right to receive time off to serve as an election judge.
All election judges are required to attend two hours of training prior to working an Election. The training dates for the 2018 General Election are as follows:
- Wednesday, October 17 from 9:30-11:30 am
- Thursday, October 18 from 5:30-7:30 pm
Training is mandatory and lasts approximately two hours.
- General Election: 6:00 am to approximately 10:00* pm or later (Student Judges cannot work later than 10:00 pm).
State law requires that party balance be maintained among judges in the precinct as there are specific tasks in the precinct that require representation from different political parties, i.e. curbside voting, emptying the ballot box, initialing ballots, etc. For this reason, you will be required to disclose your party affiliation to the Election Official. This information will only shared with the head judge in the precinct you will be working in. You do have the option of serving as a non-partisan judge; however, you would be unable to complete some tasks in the precinct. PLEASE NOTE: In 2018, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are considered the only two major political parties. The Independence Party is no longer considered a major political party.
If you are selected to serve, an assignment letter will be mailed out before each election.
You can choose to volunteer or be paid. The pay rate for election judges serving in Chanhassen is $9.65 per hour. Student election judges (ages 16 & 17) are paid $8.65 per hour. Mileage will also be paid for travel to and from training and the elections. If you choose to volunteer, please submit an Election Judge Volunteer Form at least 10 days before the election. If you choose to be paid, you will need to complete, sign and submit a 2018 MN W-4 form.
Two meals are provided (lunch and dinner) and coffee will be available throughout the day. If you have special dietary needs, please bring your own meals. As a side note, sometimes judges bring treats to share throughout the day.
If you are interested in serving as an election judge, complete and submit the Election Judge Application Form.