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The Aegis
Harford County

Harford County Board of Elections seeks election judges ahead of primary election

The Harford County Board of Elections is currently short about 100 election judges for its goal amount as election season nears.

Stephanie Taylor, election director for the Harford County Board of Elections, said 780 election judges are needed across the county on Election Day, July 19. They also need 100 to 150 alternate election judges in case people are unable to fulfill their duties.

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Only about 550 judges are needed for early voting, Taylor said.

During the 2020 presidential election, Taylor said, they were fully staffed with election judges after Gov. Larry Hogan put out a statewide call for people to apply. In the 2018 midterm elections, Taylor said, they were fully staffed with election judges but didn’t have many alternates.

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Across the state, about 25,000 election judges need to be recruited and trained by local election board, State Board of Elections Deputy Administrator Nikki Charlson said.

Taylor said the board is attempting to recruit election judges through avenues such as social media and sending applications for the position out with voter notification cards. She said they’ve also asked the county to send an email out to all county employees.

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“If the county and the state send out something,” Taylor said, “then, I am confident we will get the judges that we need.”

Taylor also said the shortage may not be as dire this year since voter turnout is typically lower in midterm elections, and more people are casting mail-in ballots.

“We make it work,” Taylor said. “We have no other choice.”

Taylor said they must also ensure that the number of election judges at a given site need to be equal across party lines, so it’s harder to find volunteers of certain parties in certain parts of the county.

“Recruiting election judges is a challenge for all local boards of elections in Maryland,” Charlson said. “Some local boards need judges of all political parties, while others need election judges of a particular party.”

The county elections board is still working on updates caused by redistricting, such as having to write legal descriptions of all the updated county precincts. Once those tasks are completed, they still need to complete ballot proofing. As a result, they haven’t had as much time for efforts to boost voter registration, Taylor said.

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However, some local groups have been able to hold voter registration events, such as virtual training held by the Harford County League of Women Voters and National Pan-Hellenic Council of Harford County on April 26 that provided tools on how to register voters.


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