Some cities look for more election judges

(ABC 6 News) – Some parts of Minnesota are struggling with election judge shortages, according to Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon. Simon said during a debate on ABC 6’s sister station in Minneapolis/St. Paul, KSTP-TV, is trying to incentivize more young people to be a part of the civic process.

According to the secretary of state’s office, election judging is a temporary paid position, but judges can also choose to volunteer their time.

Rochester resident Walter Rothwell will be an election judge for the fourth time this election season. He has also voted in every single election since he first turned 18 in 1968. “I consider the elections we’ve had in recent years to be the most important of my life,” Rothwell said.

According to Rothwell, most other election volunteers have been judging for longer than he has.

“With this being my fourth election I’m a relative newcomer to the process.”

Election staffing problems, at least partially, stem from older and experienced election judges no longer signing up, according to city and county officials.

Mower County says the #1 reason judges are hanging up their hats is old age. Linda Rappe has been the city clerk for the City of Kasson for more than 20 years. She says right now, Kasson is also seeing a slight decrease in election judges.

“It’s actually kind of ebbed and flowed over the years,” Rappe explained, adding that the city is down seven election judges since the election in 2020.

“I had been looking for more this year. But I had some trouble finding them.”

Rappe also says Kasson is seeing its older election judges step aside, hoping younger election judges would take their place.

Election officials in Rochester say they feel prepared for November 8, but are looking for 10 more election judges as a backup. 

Application information can be found on the City of Rochester website.