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City is looking for election judges

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Hidden in all the muck and mire that becomes an election season is a group of hard working people that ensure the American political system works. Election judges do their best to make sure elections are conducted fairly, accurately and by the letter of the law.

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Being an election judge isn't difficult, but it is an important job said Caroline Harris. Harris has been an election judge for the city of Rosemount and Independent School District 196 since she retired in 2001.

"I find it enjoyable and voting is something I think is very important," said Harris.

Though judges are essential to the election process, they often are in short supply and so the city is already looking for a few good men and women to do the job.

While it may seem early considering the general election is in November, between finding enough people and training them, it always comes down to the wire.

City clerk Amy Domeier said at least 100 judges are needed to cover the seven polling locations strewn throughout Rosemount.

Election judges do a wide variety of tasks including registering new voters, explaining voting procedure and equipment and overseeing the election process. Polls typically open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Counting usually keeps judges busy well into the night. That can make for a long day, so judges can work in shifts.

Judges must be at least 18 years of age, although 16- and 17-year-olds can volunteer as election judge trainees. Judges must declare their party affiliation. They will be appointed by the city council and must go through a two hour training session. Judges are compensated for their time.

Domeier said several training sessions are usually held in August at various times so people can attend them.

Although there aren't a lot of requirements to be a judge, Domeier said to do it participants should be detailed oriented, be able to do basic math and able to communicate well with the public.

Judging may seem a bit intimidating to newcomers but longtime judge Teresa Johnson said training and support make the experience a good one.

"For me it was a real awakening. You just don't really know what goes into it until you see it," said Johnson.

Applications to serve as an election judge are available online at www.ci.rosemount.mn.us or at city hall. Interested individuals can also request to be put on a list at precinct caucuses which will be held Tuesday. For more information call Amy Domeier at 651-322-2003 or e-mail her at amy.domeier@ci.rosemount.mn.us.

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