(Sept. 4, 2020) Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration is recruiting thousands of people to serve as election judges this fall to counter a statewide shortage.
In a letter to David Garreis, the president of the Maryland Association of Election Officials, Hogan said last Wednesday that more than 11,000 Marylanders have expressed interest in becoming election judges for the Nov. 3 general election.
“However, there are increasing reports that local boards of election have failed to contact, or even turned away, interested election judges,” Hogan wrote. “This is unacceptable, and it hurts our ability to safely conduct the November election.”
Normally, Worcester County has 220 election judge positions. Currently, there are 200 positions filled. With the shift from 16 polling places to four voting centers, there is less need for election judges within the county.
The following locations have been approved as voting centers by the Maryland State Board of Elections: Pocomoke Community Center, 1410 Market Street in Pocomoke City, Snow Hill Middle School, 522 Coulbourne Lane in Snow Hill, Stephen Decatur Middle School, 9815 Seahawk Road in Berlin, and Roland E. Powell Convention Center, 4001 Coastal Highway in Ocean City.
Worcester County voters can vote at any voting center on Nov. 3.
A press release from the Worcester County Board of Elections states, “Specimen ballots will be mailed in October to voters along with a listing of the early voting center and vote center locations.”
At this time, the local board of elections is still accepting applications for election judges.
“We certainly do not turn anyone away,” said Patti Jackson, the director of the Worcester County Board of Elections.
She added that a list of applicants is saved in a folder and if an election judge drops out or is sick the day of the election, the local board contacts those applicants to fill the absence.
Many of the applicants are state employees because of the incentives, Jackson said.
Hogan’s administration has urged nearly 65,000 state employees to sign up and serve as election judges. The state employees will receive 16 hours of administrative leave for each day of their service.
In addition, 167,000 staff and students at colleges and universities in Maryland have been asked to serve.
“We continue to encourage all of our state agencies to regularly and actively promote the need for election judges on their homepages and social media platforms,” the governor wrote.
He also told Garreis that it is imperative that local boards immediately train election judges to safely and effectively conduct the election amid the coronavirus pandemic.
With the CDC’s recommendation to offer voters a variety of choices, Hogan’s administration strongly encourages voting by mail, early voting, and voting on election day at off-peak times as safe and efficient options.
For more information, visit elections.maryland.gov.