With older poll workers at higher risk for COVID-19 complications, Colorado is launching an election judge recruitment effort to make sure there are enough judges for two upcoming statewide elections.
Secretary of State Jena Griswold is encouraging Coloradans to get involved and serve as judges in the June 30 state primary.
Serving as an election judge is a temporary, paid position. Pay is required by state law and differs county to county. Griswold has increased election judge pay by $3 per hour this year, and now offers paid sick leave.
“As the nation’s youngest Secretary of State, I want to encourage a new generation of people to get involved with our elections this year by serving as Election Judges,” Griswold said. “Being an Election Judge is a great way to get involved in our democracy while getting a front-row seat to see how Colorado’s election process works. It is also important work because judges keep our Voter Service and Polling Centers operating.”
“To limit the spread of COVID-19 and prioritize the safety of Coloradans, Election Judges will be provided with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while performing their duties,” a news release from Griswold’s office states.
Coloradans can sign up at this web page to show interest in becoming an election judge.
Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s biennial Election Administration and Voting Survey shows 58 percent of poll workers in the 2018 midterm elections were 61 or older and 27 percent were over 70.
“As individuals in these age ranges are considered at higher risk for complications from coronavirus, it is anticipated that some people who usually serve as Election Judges may not serve this year as they have in the past,” Griswold’s statement said.
“We need the next generation of Coloradans, who are at a lower risk of getting sick, to step up and serve as Election Judges to protect our democracy during this crisis,” Adams County Clerk Josh Zygielbaum said in the release.
“I encourage any Coloradan who is able to work as an election judge to not only earn extra income but to also serve your community.”
Election judges are needed for varying periods of time June 1 through July 22, depending on the needs of the individual counties. Election Judges may be affiliated with any political party or unaffiliated. In some counties, there is a high need for those who speak multiple languages.
Election judges greet voters, check them in, explain the voting equipment, and assist in voter registration.
“In bipartisan teams, Election Judges pick up ballots from ballot drop boxes, conduct ballot signature review, open envelopes and process ballots, among other things,” the news release added.
Coloradans who have not yet reached voting age can also participate. Colorado offers a Student Election Judge program for juniors and seniors in high school (ages 16 and 17) for young people to work at polling places and gain an understanding for how democracy works in their community while getting paid for their work.
To express interest in serving as an Election Judge, complete the online form on the Secretary of State’s website. If Election Judges are needed in your area, a representative from a county clerk’s office will contact you.