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Our View: Poll workers needed, step up


October 2, 2020

This year’s election cycle has had many twists and turns, but the bottom line is that on Election Day, Nov. 3, all the available votes — cast via mail and at the polls — will be tabulated.

It takes a lot of work to pull off an election, and there is always a need for election judges. This year the need is greater than ever. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many older election judges are declining to serve. So, we are encouraging young people and those less at risk for the coronavirus to step up and serve our community as an election judge.

The pay is good, kinda. You can earn about $200 for a 15-hour shift. (OK, let’s face it, no one volunteers to be an election judge for the money.) But it’s a great way to get involved in politics, by interacting with voters and other political types.

Cloquet usually needs about 50 election judges, and surrounding communities are in need too. The qualifications are minimal. You must be eligible to vote and complete a basic online training course. If you are 16 or 17 years old, you can become an election judge trainee.

But the real value in volunteering to be an election judge is taking pride in getting involved in an important civic process. Voting is one of the most basic rights in a democracy, and helping at the polling station ensures fair and honest elections. You don’t need to be a Democrat or a Republican, you just need to be a citizen who understands the importance of making every vote count.

And since this is a presidential election year, we expect turnout to be high, even with all the mail-in ballots. Not only are we choosing leaders at the top, we are also choosing important offices right here on state, county, school district, and municipal levels. You can be a part of this. And it takes only a day or two every other year.

Many current election judges have been doing their job for years. Getting younger people involved now is certain to keep the polling places well-staffed for years to come. As one election judge told us recently: “Once you start serving as an election judge, you usually keep doing it forever.”

If you are interested in being an election judge, contact your municipality, or call the Carlton County Auditor’s office at 218-384-9127.

Your community will appreciate it.


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