Become an Election Judge

Applications can be found here: Application

What are Election Judges?

Judges of elections are responsible for the administration of election procedures in the polling place on Election Day. They are in the position of ensuring that the election process is administered fairly and in accordance with the law.  

Where would I work?  With whom would I work?

The City of St. Cloud has 4 Wards divided into 28 precincts.  Precinct polling places are located in schools, park buildings, churches and other public buildings.  A board of judges consisting of a Chair Judge and four or more other judges staff each precinct.

What days and hours would I work?

Election judges work at either or both the primary election and general election.  They begin work at 6:00 am and work until the polls are closed and the results tallied, usually about 15 hours.  Some precincts have enough judges so that “split shifts” are possible.

The rate of pay will be $9.65 per hour.  State law allows an individual to take time off from work without loss of wages to serve as an election judge.

What would I do as an election judge?

  • Open and close the polls
  • Be responsible for election supplies and materials
  • Ensure only qualified voters are permitted to vote
  • Distribute ballots
  • Help voters requiring assistance
  • Maintain order in the polling place
  • Obtain results after the polls are closed
  • Certify precinct election results, and transport totals and supplies to election headquarters

Is training provided?

Yes.  Judges are required to attend a training class every year they work.  Classes are two hours long and are conducted at the Stearns County License Center West.  Training is usually scheduled sometime in July.  Additional classes may be held for those who are working only the November general election.  Judges are paid to take the class, and this payment is processed along with the pay for any work on election day.

Am I eligible to serve?

Judges must reside in and be eligible to vote in the State of Minnesota.  They must state a political party preference, as State law requires a party balance in each voting place.

Do all election judges serve each year?

Not necessarily.  The actual number of judges working in any single precinct is determined by the precinct’s Chair judge in conjunction with the City Clerk.  Staff is increased for general elections or those where a large turnout is anticipated and reduced for smaller scale elections such as primaries.

How am I assigned to work as an Election Judge?

Assignments are made based on several factors:

Number of vacancies

The number of judges working in each of our 28 precincts varies anywhere from 4 to 12 judges based primarily on the number of registered voters in the precinct.  Other issues, such as a heavily contested race, may also be factored into the decision.

Experience/number of elections worked

While judges are not guaranteed to work every election, Judges that have the most experience or that have worked several elections are usually assigned first.

Home Precinct

Ideally, each judge would be assigned to work in or near his or her home precinct.  However, when necessary, judges may be called to work in any precinct in the City where additional staff is needed.

Party Balance

Each precinct is required to have a board of judges with a political party balance. You will be required to select one of the following: DFL, Republican or None.

Basic Skills and Knowledge of Election Laws

You must demonstrate a satisfactory set of basic skills prior to being assigned to work in a precinct.   In addition, judges must demonstrate familiarity with current election laws.

When will I receive my election judge assignment?

In most cases, you will be contacted by your precinct chairperson well in advance of the election.  However, last-minute replacements are usually made by telephone via the precinct chair or City Clerk’s office during the days immediately preceding the election.  If you are unsure whether or not you are scheduled to work the next election, contact your precinct chair.  The City Clerk’s office (255-7210) can give you the name and phone number of your precinct chairperson.

What if I can’t work?

Judges who accept their assignment, and then find they cannot work should notify their precinct chair immediately.  Precinct chairpersons who discover that they will not be available for a given election, or who no longer wish to act as the head judge, are responsible for naming a replacement.