San Miguel County recruits election judges

With the national average age of election judges at 72, San Miguel County is recruiting high school students to join its core of veterans to work at the polls Nov. 4.

San Miguel County Clerk Peggy Nerlin said she went directly to high schools and also talked to several residents in their 20s and 30s about becoming judges.

There wasn’t a great response, but one student from each of the high schools and four young adults will take the training this year, ensuring the knowledge of older members gets passed along, she said.

The four older members of the young set will learn how to use SCORE, a statewide online voter registration system to verify voters and their signatures, Nerlin said.

The two high school students, both 18, will be full judges and do equal work with those more experienced, she said. They also will make approximately $200 for training and Election Day. San Miguel pays more than surrounding counties, she said.

Both students are interested in community involvement, she said.

Mesa County has been recruiting high school students for several years, and interest increases closer to the November elections, director Sheila Reiner said.

“We love ’em,” she said. “We don’t have a good turnout in August because of summer vacation.”

Delta County has used high school students since 2004, but the pay for all Delta County election judges is $110 less than San Miguel County.

“We’re just kind of frugal here in Delta County,” said Ann Eddins, Delta County clerk and recorder.

Election judges in Montrose County are overseen by Lura Kchyt and Erica Howe of the Montrose County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

Kchyt said the county uses high school students, and Howe heads up recruitment..

“We have plenty, but we’re recruiting more,” Howe said.

Nerlin said San Miguel County had enough judges last year, but it’s always a challenge to have enough people trained to step in if needed.


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