Do You Want to Make Sure Missoula Has Fair Elections in 2022?
The Missoula County Elections Office is encouraging civically engaged community members to serve as election judges for the 2022 primary and general elections. According to Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman, it takes a communitywide effort to conduct fair and organized elections.
“The Missoula County Elections Office is looking to bring in election judges for the 2022 cycle,” Seaman said. “Because we have a school special district in May right before the June primary election, we are always working to schedule and train election judges in February and March to be able to accommodate the election schedule through a federal year.”
Seaman said election judges greet voters, issue ballots, operate equipment, answer questions and hand out “I voted” stickers.
“Election judges are the kind of folks that you see when you go to a polling place and get your ballot on Election Day,” Seaman said. “They also help in our counting center and they may do things like traffic director or transporting ballots from one building to another. Missoula County is one of the largest counties for recruitment of election judges. We will need to recruit well over 600 election judges this year.”
With COVID-19 continuing to impact the community, the Elections Office hopes to recruit additional judges this cycle to cover for anyone who may be out unexpectedly due to illness. Having a higher number of election judges helps keep wait times shorter and otherwise improves the level of customer service for voters.
According to Seaman, election judges should be ready and willing to learn more about the voting process and be enthusiastic about providing friendly customer service to Missoula voters.
“In order to serve, you have to be at least 18 years of age and a registered voter in Missoula County,” Seaman said. “You must be eligible to take our trainings in February or in March, and eligible to serve in the upcoming elections in June and November.”
The County provides election judge certification training, which is required by law. Initial training is about three hours, and there are advanced sessions for poll book judges and polling place managers.
Seaman said election judges are paid for their service and their training, but most people aren’t doing it for the money.
“We refer to this as paid public service,” Seaman said. “Nobody is doing this strictly for the pay check. They are doing it because they are concerned about elections. However, we do pay at the rate of $9.20 for a basic election judge, $9.50 for a poll book, and $15 for a polling place manager. There is the opportunity to have a healthy little pay check at the end of your service as well.”
New and returning election judges can sign up at www.missoulaelectionjudge.com, by calling 406-258-4751, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. When registering, applicants will be required to provide their name, address and date of birth to verify they are registered to vote in Missoula County.