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‘We are in an emergency’: Baltimore short more than 1,000 election judges ahead of July primary

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Posted at 9:18 PM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 04:24:43-04

BALTIMORE — Election judges are crucial when it comes to making sure the voting process goes as smooth as possible.

However, finding them to work during this coming primary in Baltimore has been far from easy.

“We are averaging maybe 25 [people] to sign up for class, and maybe 10 [people] may show up, and if that rate continues in that manner, we will be far short," Baltimore's Board of Elections Director Armstead Jones said.

Board of Elections struggling to sign up election judges

Jones said Baltimore currently has 900 election judges on board to work in the July primary.

He said that’s not close to the 2,000 needed to work more than 100 polling locations.

“Right now, we are in an emergency,” Jones said. “We need to have these persons in place to ensure that the polling places will open on time, and with the lack of judges right now, I want to be sure that all of the places will open.”

Jones said the city had 296 precinct locations but cut down to 103 to address the election judge shortage.

Jones said the pandemic is the number reason for the lack of judges.

“A lot of our judges are elderly persons and I think a lot them aren’t coming out. Even at my church, I know a lot of seniors aren’t coming,” Jones said.

Anita Buckson, who has been an election judge for 20 years, told WMAR-2 News that she plans to work during the July primary.

“I’m very much aware of the need for good and experienced judges,” she said.

Buckson said election judges are very important.

She’s encouraging people to sign up if they can, so voters aren’t impacted.

“It’s very very important that we be there for these people,” she said. "There are more excuses than reasons for not voting, and we don’t want the lack of staff to be one of the reasons people don’t come out."

The primary is set for July 19.

If you would like to sign up to become an election judge in Baltimore, you can call (410) 396-5580 or you click this link here which takes you to Baltimore’s Board of Elections website.