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                                                                                    COVID-19 InformationInformation and Updates for Community Members

Contact Information

201 4th Street SE
Room 135
Rochester, MN 55904 (Map)

Phone: 507-328-2900
Fax: 507-328-2901
TDD: 507-328-2900

Mon-Fri 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Department Contacts

Work on Election Day

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Serve as an Election Judge in a Rochester voting place

Rochester needs you! Work in one of the city's polling places in 2020 helping your friends and neighbors cast their ballots as a volunteer or get paid for your service.

Pay rates have increased for all elections in 2020!

  • Team judges fill most of the roles in each polling location. The new pay rate for 2020 is $100 for a half day shift, or $200 for a full day shift.
  • Language support judges are team judges who are fluent in at least priority language and able to provide support to our voters who may speak that language. The new pay rate for 2020 is $120 for half day shifts or $240 for a full day shift.
  • Head judges are experienced election judges who supervise each polling place with a co-head judge. The new pay rate for 2020 is $130 for a half day shift, and $275 for a full day shift.
  • Judges also receive an additional stipend for attending required trainings.

People are needed to work in the polls as election judges in three 2020 election events:

  • MAR 3:   PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION PRIMARY (PNP)
  • AUG 11: STATE AND LOCAL PRIMARY
  • NOV 3:   GENERAL ELECTION

Ready to sign up to help in 2020?

Step By Step Instructions

COMPLETE THE ONLINE APPLICATION TO GET THINGS STARTED.

TRAININGS WILL BE SCHEDULED AHEAD OF BOTH THE AUGUST AND NOVEMBER ELECTIONS FOR ALL JUDGES.

Apply Now! 

Even if you've served as an election judge in Rochester before, complete an updated sign up for 2020.
We need to know:

  • Which of the 3 Election events in 2020 you can work in.
  • Whether you wish to work a full day (6 a.m. until after the polls close) or half day (6 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. or 1 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.)
  • Your major party affiliation or that you are unaffiliated.
  • If you are interested in serving as a head or co-head judge (must have previously been an election judge.)

Online applications are preferred, and comfort with technology is a requirement to serve as an election judge, as Olmsted County has now transitioned to the use of electronic poll pads in every polling location. Applications can be completed by the following methods:

  • Online Form  **Preferred Method**
    • There is a computer available at the City Clerk's Office at City Hall to complete your online sign up. The online form is also optimized to work on mobile devices. 
  • Apply in person or by phone - Come to or call the City Clerk's Office at 507-328-2900 and we will help you complete the required information.

Training Resources for Election Judges

Training Videos

PNP New Judge Training
(Length: 2 hours, 30 minutes; required for judges who did not have new judge training since 2018)

Presidential Nomination Primary Basics Training
(Length: 56 minutes; required for all judges)

PNP Head Judge Training
(Length: 1 hour 39 minutes; required for all head judges serving in the PNP)

Training Slides

PNP New Judge Training

PNP Basics Training

PNP Head Judge Training

PNP Poll Pad Training

Special Combined PNP Training (offered Feb. 22-27)

Resource Guides

2018 Election Judge Guide

2020 PNP Supplemental Election Judge Guide

What's an Election Judge?

Election judges are the people who staff every polling place on Election Day to help voters cast a ballot. These critical roles are sometimes called by different names, including poll workers, in different states. By any name, the people who work in the polls are an important part of making sure every election takes place and offers the opportunity for voters to cast a ballot close to home on Election Day.

What is involved?

  • There are required paid training classes offered at different times and locations.
  • Judges must be at the polling place at 6:00 A.M. and work until they are finished that evening (around 10:00  p.m. or later) 
    • Half day shifts are also available, from 6 am - 2:30 pm  or 1:30 pm to end of day.
  • There is a Presidential Nomination Primary (PNP) on March 3, 2020.
  • There is a State and Local Primary on August 11, 2020.
  • There is a General Election on November 3, 2020.
  • If you are an election judge at a place that is not your polling place, you may vote absentee before Election Day.
  • You can work in one, two, or all three elections in 2020.
  • For the 2020 elections, judges will be paid a stipend for both Election Day and any required training.
    • Team judges will be paid $200 for a full day, from 6 am to close, or $100 for a half day shift, plus an additional stipend based on required training.
    • Head judges will be paid $275 for a full day including set up, or $130for a half day, plus an additional stipend based on required training.
  • Full Day shifts begin at 6 a.m. and end when the polls close and materials are brought back to Election Headquarters.
  • Half Day shifts for the PNP are either from 6 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. or 1 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.
  • Judges can also choose to volunteer on Election Day. There is more flexibility in shifts for volunteers.

Duties of an Election Judge

  • Set up the polling place
  • Operate voting equipment
  • Direct voters to the correct line
  • Register individuals to vote
  • Ensure all qualified voters are permitted to vote
  • Demonstrate how to vote
  • Distribute ballots to voters
  • Assist voters
  • Close down polling place following voting
  • Tabulate and transmit results after polls close
  • Certify the polling place results

Who is eligible? 

  • You must be eligible to vote in Minnesota.
  • You must be able to read, write, and speak English.
  • You cannot be a candidate or the spouse, parent, child, or sibling of any candidate on the ballot in that precinct.
  • High school students 16 and older may serve as student election judges.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do I have to use vacation time to work as an election judge?

State law allows you to receive time off from work to be an election judge without a loss of wages.
To qualify, you must notify your employer in writing at least 20 days before the election you will be working in and let them know your rate of pay as an election judge.

The Secretary of State's Office has prepared a memo that can be shared with your employer explaining the requirements of state law around allowing employees to serve as election judges.

Your employer can reduce your salary or wages by the amount you are paid for being a judge during the hours you are away from work. (For example: If you normally work 8 hours, and your regular salary is $15 per hour and your election judge salary will be $10 per hour, your employer can reduce your normal salary of $120 by $80 and pay you the difference of $40.) You can also choose to take a vacation day to be fully paid by your employer and receive the judge salary you earn as extra income. An employer cannot require you to take vacation time to serve as an election judge. (M.S. 204B.195)

What are the requirements for students to serve as election judges? 

Student Election Judges:

  • must be 16 or 17 years old (once they reach 18 years of age, then they can apply to be a regular judge.)
  • must be enrolled in a high school or homeschooled in Minnesota.
  • may work from 6 am to no later than 10 pm at the polling place (half-day shifts are available.)

What is a head judge and how are those roles chosen?

In every polling place, there are two co-head judges. These people oversee the polling location, and help provide direction to the other election judges in the polling place. Typically, head judges have served as an election judge in the past.

If you are interested in serving as a head judge for the first time, contact us and let us know.