By Vera Herath, LWVAAC Voter Services co-chair and Board director
What’s an Election Judge? Well, I’m happy to tell you because I’ve been an Election Judge for nearly 10 years and truly enjoy doing my part to help people vote.
Election Judges are the friendly, helpful people you see working at your polling place when you vote in person. They ensure that qualified registered voters cast their votes privately, safely, and securely. They check in voters and issue Voter Authority Cards and ballots. They guide voters to the voting booths and answer any questions about filling in the ballot. They also help voters scan their ballots so that they are tabulated and counted. Election Judges help provisional voters when necessary. Finally, they have the pleasure of giving each voter a coveted “I voted” sticker to wear proudly.
[Already convinced? Visit the Board of Elections website or read on...]
Election Judges follow strict rules and procedures to guarantee every voter a fair and equitable voting experience. The entire voting process at each polling place occurs under the watchful eyes of a pair of bipartisan Chief Judges, whose job is to maintain order, security, and integrity of every aspect of voting within their polling place.
More often than not, when someone mentions being an Election Judge, the response focuses on the challenges of the very long and exhausting election day that Judges work. This is true. You can expect to be on site at the polling place for 15 or 16 hours. (If you also work at early voting polling places, you’ll do this several days in a row.) However, you do get breaks, and better yet, you get paid! You are even paid for any required training and for setting up on the day before Election Day.
Most importantly, though, keep in mind what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. It’s an honor and privilege to be part of the free and unencumbered electoral process that we in the United States enjoy.
After all, is there anything more precious, more democratic than people freely using their voices, their votes, to express their choices? From the smallest hamlet to the largest city, every Election Judge empowers voters and stands up to defend democracy. Surely, this is worth losing a few hours of sleep. The reward is priceless. I speak from personal experience.
The Anne Arundel County Board of Elections needs dedicated people like you to be Election Judges in the 2022 Gubernatorial Election and beyond. Call 410-222-0494, email [email protected], or visit the BOE website for details and to sign up today.
[Post excerpted from the December 2021 LWVAAC quarterly newsletter, The Voter.]