Former President Donald Trump’s claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election may not be the reason, but local Republicans are increasing their presence at the polls this year.
“We have been encouraging interested parties to sign up to be election judges for many years,” says Bill Erickson, chairman of the Faribault County Republican Party.
Darren Esser, Faribault County auditor/treasurer/coordinator, says the county’s GOP Party requested a total of nine judges.
“Assuming the prospective judges get properly trained, they can work in both the August primary and November general elections,” says Esser.
In Blue Earth, Ward 2 will get four more judges and Ward 3 one, while the cities of Bricelyn, Kiester, Wells and Winnebago will each get one.
The Winnebago City Council at their June 14 meeting approved Darren Barnett as an election judge and Esser says the other cities will have to do the same.
“In most cases the council approves the election judges at least 25 days before the election,” says Esser.
Erickson says state law requires party balance in each precinct and in some parts of the state it has resulted in litigation because the requirement has not been met.
“It’s particularly related to situations where one party dominates and uses public employees to serve as judges without concern for the party balance requirements,” he says. “I am not suggesting there is an issue here.”
Faribault County DFL Party chairman Dan Woodring says they have not asked for extra judges because there hasn’t been evidence of any significant election fraud.
“Our party is going to remain tethered to that reality rather than some of the outlandish false narratives that are out there,” he says.
Under the state’s election guidelines, no more than half of the election judges in a precinct may be members of the same political party unless the election board consists of an odd number of election judges.
Judges at the polling place generally fall into the following categories:
• Head judge- in charge of the polling place. Reviews credentials of challengers, media, election administration representatives to decide if they are able to remain in the polling place. May conduct challenge procedures.
• Greeter judge – Directs traffic flow and keeps order. Supplies timely information regarding voter’s correct poll location and Election Day registration documents. Answers questions about language and/or disability assistance in the polling place.
• Roster/electronic roster judge – Signs in voters who registered in advance of Election Day. Alerts voters to their record notations such as “A.B.,” “challenges” and “see I.D.”
• Registration judge – Registers voters who did not register in advance. Refers voters to correct poll location if current location is incorrect. A registration judge is prohibited from handling ballots of voters they have registered until the polls are closed. May conduct challenge procedures.
• Demonstration judge – Explains how to mark a ballot.
• Ballot judge – Gives official ballots to voters. Explains spoiled ballot procedures. Monitors and keeps supply of official ballots and secrecy covers.
• Ballot counter judge – Oversees the ballot box area and gives out “I Voted” stickers. Maintains physical security of the ballot box; ensuring the program card storage compartments and all doors are locked throughout the voting period.