MISSOULA — The Missoula County Elections Office is looking to hire familiar faces for the polling places for the 2022 election cycle.
Politics in Montana wind down this time of year, but the office is already prepping for when that time comes.
“It takes a whole community to run elections in Missoula,” Missoula County Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman told MTN News.
Over 600 election judges are needed for this year’s elections, starting with the School Special District Election in May. They are paid for their service during elections and also are paid for attending the required training session.
“What happened was, is, I found myself staying for the people and the purpose that came with it,” said Rance Schumacher who will be returning as an election judge.
Schumacher — a preacher at the Missoula Church of Christ — says he got hooked on being an election judge after first working the polls in 2016.
“Getting to meet some of the good folks that help out around here but then also learning so much about the voting process, learning about elections, learning about what we do here in Missoula County, how everything works,” Schumacher elaborated.
Schumacher also said he finds it to be a rewarding job.
“Becoming aware of just how privileged we are to be able to vote in America and it's such a powerful right that we have...I've had people ask me; ‘Is it secure? Is it good?’ And being involved in it, I can tell them, ‘Yeah, it is,’”
The Missoula County Elections Office will host training sessions in February and March. This year, you can attend virtually or in person. You must be 18 or older and be registered to vote in Missoula County.
“Election judges are the face of the Elections Office, and they're the people you think of when you go to cast your ballot at your local school. They're also the people working into the wee hours of the morning here to make sure your absentee ballot gets counted correctly,” Seaman explained of the role.
There are plenty of opportunities this year. “Total people to manage and run an election can be upwards of seven  to 800 people,” Seaman said.
Additional information about what's needed by the Missoula County Elections Office can be found here.