How to do your civic duty, and then some

The Enterprise - - Community Forum -

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.

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