BEMIDJI -- The Bemidji City Council appointed 23 judges Monday for the Aug. 11 primary, and is hoping more people will sign up.
In its weekly newsletter, the city included a poster encouraging residents to become election judges for the both the Aug. 11 primary, which will narrow races at the city, county and state level, and the general election on Nov. 3. The city isn't alone in its recruitment of poll workers though, as the effort is being made statewide.
In speaking with the Pioneer last month, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said during an average election cycle, nearly 30,000 people are needed to be election judges. However, because of the coronavirus, Simon said his office is encouraging over-recruiting.
This is to ensure that if some judges aren't able to work the day of the election because of COVID-19, more workers will be available to take their place.
To be an election judge in the state, one must be a resident of Minnesota and a U.S. citizen who has not had their voting rights revoked. Also, they must have the ability to read, speak and write English.
Election workers are required to take two hours of mandatory training and earn $10.50 per hour. For the most part, election judges must be at the polling place by 6 a.m. and work until they are finished for the evening. There are part time shifts available, though, that end around 2 p.m.
As part of the job, election judges help set up the polling place, operate voting equipment, direct voters to the correct line, register people to vote, ensure all qualified voters are permitted to vote, demonstrate how to vote, distribute ballots, assist voters with questions and close polling places down.
Those interested can sign up in person by visiting the City Clerk's office and supplying their name, address, phone number and availability. Potential judges can also contact the office by phone at (218) 759-3570.