How to do your civic duty, and then some
So the deadline for filing for office for the June 26 primary election has come and gone, and you — like the vast majority of the nearly 76,382 registered voters in St. Mary’s
County — probably decided not to run for anything. Not for governor, attorney general, comptroller, U.S. senator, U.S. representative, state senator, state delegate, county commissioner or sheriff.
So if you’re not running or connected to a campaign, but you want to do something more than vote, what can you do?
Susan Julian, deputy director of the St. Mary’s County Board of Elections, says she has just the job for you: Become an election judge. It’s a 15-hour day, but you get paid for your time and trouble, as well as the brief training session that comes before the primary.
What do election judges do? They prepare the polling place for voting; check in voters; instruct them on how to use the voting equipment; maintain the security of voting materials; and then close the polling place. In accordance with federal and state law, an election judge must perform all of the duties assigned to by the local board of elections faithfully, diligently and without partiality or prejudice. So far, so good, right?
Julian says about 20 election judges are still needed, primarily in the northern end of the county. And you don’t have to live in a particular precinct to be an election judge there. Any state resident can work at any precinct in Maryland. In fact, Julian said, there are some judges in St. Mary’s who come from Charles or Calvert.
So who’s eligible to be an election judge? Those who are at least 16 years old; registered to vote in Maryland; not a candidate for office; detail oriented; and can speak, read and write English. The age requirement is younger than for the 2016 election, which was 17. That’s a great move, since it allows young people to get involved in the political process even sooner before they’re actually eligible to vote.
Judges work from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Election Day, and need their own transportation to and from their assigned polling places.
And here’s the money part: Judges are paid $150 per election, as well as $30 for attending the required training class. They will be paid by the county within six weeks of working. However, if you take the class but decide not to work a polling place, you will not get the $30 for the training session.
Still interested in being an election judge? Go to www.stmarysmd.com, click on the residents tab, then click elections, then the election judge star, and fill out the prospective judge form and mail it to P.O. Box 197, Leonardtown MD 20650. Call 301-475-7844, ext. *1625 (Julian says you must punch in the star or the call won’t be connected), or email Susan.Julian@stmarysmd.com to learn more.
Remember that since Maryland is not an open primary state, the county’s 31,578 registered Republicans will get ballots including only GOP candidates, and the 27,564 Democrats will be limited to voting within their party as well. And the remaining 17,240 registered voters (which includes 16,021 unaffiliated voters, 623 Libertarians, 147 Greens and 449 listed by the county as “others”) cannot cast a vote in the June 26 primary. Julian said the county’s board of elections office will be open until 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5, for anybody to register in person or online at www. elections.maryland.gov.
So be sure to register, and if you feel moved to do so, be an election judge, too.