Election judges are temporary, paid employees of local election officials trained to handle all aspects of voting at the polling place. Serving as an election judge is a chance to learn about elections, and is a great service to the community.
On Election Day, there can be as many as 30,000 election judges temporarily employed at polling places across Minnesota. You too can be an election judge—many towns and cities are always looking for qualified applicants. This page includes information on how to apply, who can apply, pay, the time commitment, time off from work, and student trainees.
To apply, contact a city or county election office using the information below. In an even year, you may also contact your political party prior to May 1.
You must be eligible to vote in Minnesota and able to read, write and speak English. Students 16 and 17 years-old can be election judge trainees.
There are restrictions on having relatives serve together as election judges. A relative is defined as a spouse, parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, sibling, or stepsibling.
Relatives cannot serve together in the same precinct at the same time. In addition, relatives of a candidate, and anyone who temporarily or permanently lives in the same house as a candidate, cannot serve in the precinct where the candidate is on the ballot.
Candidates cannot serve in a precinct where they are on the ballot.
You can choose to volunteer or be paid. Wages vary by city.
More experienced election judges, such as Head Judges, usually earn more than entry level election judges.
Student trainees must be paid no less than two-thirds of the minimum wage.
You must attend a required training that will be roughly two hours in length. Many classes are in the evenings. Most trainings are held in the late Spring or early Summer.
Work days are the primary and general elections. A smaller workforce is usually needed for the primary. In some cases, you can ask to only work the general election in November.
A typical schedule on Election Day is from 6:00 a.m. to around 9:00 p.m. In some cases, you can ask to work a half-day.
Your employer is required to give you time off from work to be an election judge without a reduction in pay. To qualify, you must:
"Without a reduction in pay" means you get to earn at least the same amount you would have, had you gone to work that day. In practice, this means your employer can ask you to turn over the amount you earn as an election judge during hours you would have normally been scheduled to work, or your employer can deduct that amount from your normal pay.
You can voluntarily take a vacation day to be fully paid by your employer and receive the judge salary you earn as extra income. An employer cannot force you to take vacation or any other form of paid leave.
You can give your employer this memo about time off (PDF), explaining your right to receive time off to serve as an election judge.
16 and 17-year-old students can work as election judge trainees, receive training, and be paid for their work. It’s a great way to learn about elections and voting, and earn cash at the same time!
You cannot be asked to work past 10:00 p.m. You will be assigned the same duties as other judges, with the exception of tasks requiring party affiliation. You will need to attend and complete the same training as other judges.
To qualify, you must be 16 or 17 on or before Election Day, be a U.S. citizen in good academic standing at a Minnesota high school (or home schooled), and get permission for your parents and your school.