Dear CEIMN—how do I become an election judge?

July 3, 2012

Dear CEIMN—how do I become an election judge?

If efficient, fair and accurate elections are important to you, you have a future as an election judge!   

Your first step to becoming an election judge is to decide where you would like to serve. Most election judges serve in their own community, and this is a great way to spend time with you neighbors. However, you can apply to be a judge anywhere in Minnesota. 

A good place to start the application process is to visit the website of your local election authority. You can find contact information and links to websites at the Election Official Directory (, an online directory provided by the Minnesota Secretary of State. 

Keep in mind that Minnesota law allows you to take time off from work without loss of wages to serve as an election judge if you give your employer 20 days written notice.

There are a few basic requirements for election judges in Minnesota. An election judge must be:

  • Eligibleto vote in the State of Minnesota
  • Ableto read, write and speak English
  • Appointed by the appointing authority (county, city, township, or school board)
  • Trained and currently certified as an election judge

Other important qualities of election judges include:

  • Ability to remain impartial
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to communicate clearly with voters
  • Comfortable with assisting and serving a diverse population

An election judge cannot be:

  • a candidate in that election (i.e., is running for an office on the ballot used in that precinct, or is a write-in candidate in the jurisdiction in which they are actively campaigning)
  • the husband, wife, parent, child, stepchild, brother, sister, or stepsibling, of a candidate or another judge in the same precinct
  • a challenger

Can’t vote yet because you are not old enough? Well, high school students, including home schooled students, 16 and 17 years of age can serve as trainee election judges.

Serving as an election judge is a great opportunity to learn about Minnesota’s superb election system. There is still time to apply for this year’s elections. Contact your elections office for more information.


2012 Election Judge Guide

Minneapolis Elections and Voter Registration

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