Become an Election Judge
The Election Judge who operates the polling place is a very important part of the electoral process. This person is the only contact the Election Office has with the general public during voting hours and is responsible for administering the actual voting procedures in each precinct. Without this individual, it would be impossible to conduct an election. If you are interested in becoming an Election Judge, complete the Online Application.
Expectations & Responsibilities
- The ideal election judge will be able to endure long hours on Election Day (about 15 hours) and will deal courteously and patiently with the public and coworkers.
- All judges must make sure that qualified voters who are properly registered are able to cast their vote in a trouble-free environment.
- The Election Judge represents the entire electoral process and may be the only person a voter has contact with when exercising his or her voting rights. Therefore, the Election Judge must be reliable, courteous, and able to follow procedures exactly.
Election Judges must possess good judgment.
Any person who holds a position as Election Judge must be:
- 16 years old or older*
- Registered voter in the State of Maryland
- Able to speak, read, and write English
- Physically and mentally able to work at least a 15-hour day
- Willing to work outside your home precinct
- Able to sit and/or stand for an extended period
- Able to lift a minimum of 35 pounds
* If you are 16 years old, you may be able to serve if you show your local board of elections that you are qualified to be an election judge and a parent or guardian gives permission.
Election Judges are responsible for administering voting procedures in their precinct and ensuring a fair and accessible election for all eligible voters. Duties include:
- Assisting voters
- Checking in voters
- Overseeing all election procedures throughout the polling place
- Setting up and breaking down a polling place before and after voting hours
Term of Office
Election Judges are appointed biennially (Election Law Article Annotated Code of Maryland, Section 10-203 (a), Registration and Election Laws of Maryland) 13 weeks prior to any regularly scheduled primary election. They serve until after the general election. Therefore, each person accepting appointment as a Judge should be available for the primary and general election to be held in a given election year.
Training Sessions for Judges
Maryland law requires all registered voters who desire to become an Election Judge attend a training session as a condition of appointment. You may be required to pass a written and/or hands-on evaluation in order to work. If you do not participate on election day you will not be paid for training.
Even though an individual served many years as a Judge, it is necessary to review the laws and procedures that govern elections before every primary election. Each year the General Assembly of Maryland passes many bills that change the way elections are conducted. An informed Election Judge eliminates the possibility of errors in the operation of a precinct on Election Day.
- Chief Judges shall be paid $300 for each day served.
- Election Judges shall be paid $200 for each day served.
- Closing Judges shall be paid $100 for each day served.
- Alternate Judges are paid the same salary as the person for whom they substitute.
- All Judges receive $50 as compensation for attending training.
- Payment for training is made after the General Election.
Oath of Office
Return the Oath of Office
At the time of appointment Election Judges receive the following:
- A letter of appointment indicating what type of Judge the person will be named.
- A letter indicating acceptance of the appointment. This letter will also state the required oath to be taken by an Election Judge. One is not appointed to the position of Judge until the oath is returned to the Election Office.
A Judge who finds it necessary to resign must send his or her written request stating the reason for not serving on Election Day to the Board of Elections.