By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4) – Secretary of State Jena Griswold is encouraging Coloradans to get involved in the state’s June 30 primary by serving as election judges. Since older poll workers are at a higher risk of COVID-19, the state is launching an election judge recruitment effort to ensure there are enough for the upcoming statewide elections to run smoothly.

Election judges greet voters, check them in, explain voting equipment and assist in voter registration. They also pick up ballots from ballot drop boxes, conduct ballot signature review, open and process ballots, among other things.

(credit: CBS)

It is a temporary, paid position with wages determined by counties. This year, election judge pay increased by $3 per hour, and paid sick leave is offered.

“As the nation’s youngest Secretary of State, I want to encourage a new generation of people to get involved with our elections this year by serving as Election Judges,” Griswold said in a news release. “Being an Election Judge is a great way to get involved in our democracy while getting a front-row seat to see how Colorado’s election process works. It is also important work because judges keep our Voter Service and Polling Centers operating.”

According to the release from Griswold’s office, election judges will be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment while performing their duties as to prioritize the safety of Coloradans and limit the spread of COVID-19.

A Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s biennial Election Administration and Voting survey showed 58% of poll workers in the 2018 midterm elections were age 61 or older, and 27% were over 70. It is anticipated that some people who usually serve as election judges may not serve this year as they have in the past.

“We need the next generation of Coloradans, who are at a lower risk of getting sick, to step up and serve as Election Judges to protect our democracy during this crisis,” said Adams County Clerk Josh Zygielbaum in the news release. “I encourage any Coloradan who is able to work as an election judge to not only earn extra income but to also serve your community.”

Election judges are needed June 1 through July 22, depending on the needs of the individual counties. They can be affiliated with any political party or unaffiliated. There is a high need for those who speak multiple languages.

Coloradans who haven’t yet reached the voting age can also participate in the Student Election Judge program. It is for junior and seniors in high school (ages 16 and 17) and allows young people to work at polling places and gain an understanding for how democracy works while also getting paid for their work.

Those interested in serving as an election judge need to fill out a special online form.

Kelly Werthmann

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