Citizen Election Judges 2020: 

Who Will Watch the Vote? Who Will Count the Vote? How About YOU?

Minnesota needs good people to be election judges on Election Day and to serve on Absentee Ballot Boards!

Most outstate cities are sending absentee ballots to the county for processing. It is a mixed bag in the metro area. Instructions for how to sign up to be an election judge for Election Day and/or Absentee Ballot Boards are below.

It does not matter if you did not sign up by May 1 through your party

Cities are still accepting applications for Election Judges. And you can serve as an Election Judge or on a Ballot Board anywhere in Minnesota. Maybe you are needed somewhere other than your own city? See the instructions below.

Election Judges and Absentee Ballot Board Judges are paid good money

Election Day judges are needed to keep same-day registration, vouching, voters’ language assistance, and all the other concerning practices honest.

But because half or more votes cast this year could be absentee ballots, it is vital that we get lots of good, honest people on Absentee Ballot Boards. (Minneapolis is paying $18.50 an hour.)

Absentee Ballot Board Judges are needed for several weeks in 2020

Absentee Ballot Board judges have already started working because of early voting. You want to get hired ASAP but no later than October 20 and ideally stay through November 10 when the last absentee ballot is counted. (The November 10 extension of Election Day is being challenged in federal court so stay tuned.)

This can be a full time or part-time, Monday through Friday job with opportunities to work on Saturdays, too. (We anticipate that judges may have to wear a mask at least part of the time—please do not let that get in the way of helping save this election.)

This can be a full time or part-time, Monday through Friday job with opportunities to work on Saturdays, too. (We anticipate that judges may have to wear a mask at least part of the time—please do not let that get in the way of helping save this election.)

This is a great way to serve Election Integrity while making good money if you are retired, out of work or just looking for some serious Christmas cash.

That was the good news. Here are some challenges:

Cities and Counties have never been required by the Secretary of State to follow the law

Reforms were passed following the 2008 Coleman v. Franken recount mess that requires two citizens from different political parties to keep each other honest and the absentee ballot vote fair.

It is up to citizens like you to create the pressure to follow the law (i.e., lawsuits, citizens demanding that they are hired for ballot boards and electing a Secretary of State who follows the law in 2022).

The defendant counties and cities in MVA’s Ballot Board case admitted to the court they are not following the law

They cited Sec. of State Steve Simon’s “Minnesota Absentee Voting Administration Guide.” The Guide allows local officials to ignore the clear requirements of the law, treating the need for party balance and citizen judges as optional.

Some cities and counties are hiring from the major party lists anyway; and the good news is some are following the law!

Others hired from the party lists but are not letting citizen judges do the critical work of accepting and rejecting the ballots

(e.g. checklist to make sure the ballot good to be counted). Instead, they have citizen judges doing clerical work to process the ballots. But those judges are still there to see the operations and watch for problems!

This means we, as citizens, must get ourselves hired and then insist that we be allowed to do the critical work of accepting and rejecting absentee ballots.

We expect cities and counties to follow the law. We believe there are good city and county clerks all over the state who will want to do the right thing—and some are already doing that!

We have heard from judges who are having a great influence on the process once the official in charge is shown the law! They are improving the review standards just as the legislature intended; Democrats and Republicans working side by side to keep the count honest.

How can you help? We need each of you to handle this at the local level.

Please call your city clerk or county elections manager to see if absentee ballots are being processed at the city or county level and then ask if you can serve on a ballot board. Please send this to people you trust to do the same (forward this to them).

Again, these are paid positionscities and counties do the hiring (not political parties or the MVA). Please contact your city and county clerks directly, not the MVA. Sometimes local BPOUs have good relationships so check with them, too.

Thank you for considering the important work of serving as an Election Judge on November 3rd but also as an Absentee Ballot Board Judge. The election is expected to be close, and we are very concerned about absentee ballot fraud, especially since the counting of ballots will take place until November 10 (unless Election Day is restored, as hoped, to November 3rd).

If you get a position on a Ballot Board, please send us an email at with the details---and let us know if you are permitted to accept or reject absentee ballots. Make the subject line of the email “I am serving on a ballot board.” We get swamped with calls and emails.