It might only be January but it's gearing up to be a busy election year for Gallatin County. Now, officials like Election Administrator Eric Semerad are preparing to recruit more election poll workers.
“In Montana, in the law they are called election judges, and so we recruit election judges, every even-numbered year,” said Semerad.
The reason for recruitment this time around is because a federal election is taking place, meaning the county is going to have to get ready to hire and train hundreds of election judges before the primary in June.
“Municipal elections, school district elections, or special district elections are all done by mail in Gallatin County,” Semerad said.
For the elections that take place in the spring, Gallatin County uses its mail in the voting system to handle its smaller elections.
“Our largest is the fairgrounds,” says Semerad.
In Gallatin County it takes around 260 elections judges throughout the county, ranging from one election judge in a small precinct to a full staff at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds.
“We're expecting a lot of people,” said Semerad.
The job title description can range from a greeter, poll book judge, polling place manager—all of these people work in unison to make sure that an election is secure, and for a county that mails ballots, election judges make sure that people only vote once.
In 2020, Gallatin County saw just shy of 500 people sign up to be election judges, but because of the pandemic the 2020 federal election became a mail-in voting election. So far this year, Semerad says they have already had 26 people sign up.
“It's a big ordeal and there is quite a bit that goes on to put on a polling place election,” he said.
If you are interested in signing up to be an election judge you can find more information on Gallatin County’s website: