MISSOULA — The Missoula County Elections Office is looking to recruit 600 people to serve during the 2022 primary and general elections.
The office hopes to recruit more than 600 election judges, poll book judges and polling place managers for the upcoming election year. Election judges greet voters, issue ballots, operate equipment, answer questions and hand out “I voted” stickers. They are paid for their service and their training.
“It takes a communitywide effort to conduct fair and organized elections,” said Elections Administrator Bradley Seaman. “Election judges are champions of the election process who play a crucial role in ensuring the strength and integrity of the voting process by upholding election law and providing friendly customer service.”
The Elections Office hopes to recruit additional judges to cover for anyone who may be out unexpectedly due to illness as COVID-19 continues to impact Missoula. Having a higher number of election judges helps keep wait times shorter and otherwise improves the level of customer service for voters, according to a news release.
The office is also encouraging local employers to “Give a Day for Democracy” and, if possible, allow employees paid time off to serve as an election judge.
“Many of the best election judge candidates are currently working in the community,” Seaman said. “When businesses support employees service in the election process, we can recruit and train judges who would otherwise be unavailable.”
Judges are asked to work the June primary and November general elections, and they may work a full or half shift. Election judges are paid $9.20 an hour, poll book judges $9.50 an hour and polling place managers $15 an hour. Election judges are often assigned to their neighborhood polling place, and they also help process absentee ballots in the counting center.
Judges must be at least 18 years old and registered to vote in Missoula County.
Missoula 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.
Training sessions are scheduled throughout March and will be held at the Elections Center at 140 North Russell Street. This year many basic judge courses will also be held online. If trainees would like to attend in person, signing up soon is recommended.
New and returning election judges can sign up at www.missoulaelectionjudge.com, by calling 406-258-4751 or by emailing email@example.com. 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.