Routt County seeing strong interest for election judge positions
Routt County is seeing a strong turnout of people interested in serving as election judges ahead of Colorado’s June primary and the midterm elections in November.
Jenny Thomas, the county’s clerk and recorder, said she needs between 15 to 20 judges for the primary and 25 to 35 for the general election. She is expecting about 40 people to show up to a meet and greet for election judges on Thursday, April 21, though that isn’t everyone who has signed up.
“We’ve had a lot of the same veteran judges, but now we have all these new folks,” Thomas said. “I think there is just an interest that is more piqued right now.”
Thomas speculated it could be for two reasons. First, election integrity and counting the vote have been frequent topics since the 2020 election. But it could also be that as the number of voters increases — Routt County shattered turnout numbers during the 2020 election — so do the number of people interested in participating in the process.
“I think a lot of people are interested in seeing how it’s done,” Thomas said. “We’re just grateful to have some help and be able to show everybody how it is that we do this thing.”
Election judges can be either affiliated with a political party or unaffiliated. Those affiliated with a party sign up at the local party’s caucus event, which took place in Routt County last month.
Unaffiliated voters are required to tell Thomas in writing they are interested in serving as an election judge. A simple email or letter works, she said.
“When someone signs up to be a judge, then we’ll have them on our judges list all year that’s going to carry through the whole year,” Thomas said. “The general election in November is going to be a big election.”
Thomas is organizing a meet and greet event for election judges ahead of the primary at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the county commissioners hearing room at the historic Routt County Courthouse. She said this will help everyone get to know each other and figure out who may be best at the various jobs election judges perform.
These range from picking up ballots, opening up ballot envelopes, scanning ballots received and verifying voter signatures, in addition to other tasks done before and after an election to verify the accuracy of the count.
While it helps if someone is familiar with computers, there aren’t specific qualifications needed other than being registered to vote, Thomas said.
Catherine Carson, the local Democratic Party chair, has been working as an election judge for nearly two decades in Routt County. She said a potentially limiting qualification is having the time away from work to volunteer. It also requires good attention to detail, she said.
“The most important thing about being an election judge is that the second you walk into the election office, your No. 1 priority is to make sure the process works,” Carson said. “You do not have any thought in your mind about caring about who wins or loses.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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