St. Cloud Election Judge Information
What are Election Judges?
Election judges are temporary, paid employees of local election officials trained to handle all aspects of voting at the polling place. Serving as an election judge is a chance to learn about elections, and is a great service to the community.
On Election Day, there can be as many as 30,000 election judges temporarily employed at polling places across Minnesota. You too can be an election judge—many towns and cities are always looking for qualified applicants. This page includes information on how to apply, who can apply, pay, the time commitment, time off from work, and student trainees.
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.
You can choose to volunteer or be paid. The 2024 Rate of pay will be$15.00 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 roughly two hours long and are conducted online, a handful of in person classes are also scheduled for those who cannot take the training online.
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.
- 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.