Online election judge training saves money, increases staff efficiency

 People earn college degrees online. Surely they can learn to be election judges using the same tools? That thought process by election workers at Washington County brought about an online training option for election judges to improve service, reduce expense, and deliver consistent training.

Washington County trains election judges during even calendar years, which are major election years. Washington County staff may train 400 to 500 people each training year. Election staff Dawn Johnson and Pat Gillen developed an online training program in 2012 to make the process more efficient.

The online training program, using a PowerPoint presentation created from earlier in-person trainings sessions, along with meeting web tools, replaced on-site trainings in 2012 and was updated for this year’s training.

Election staff members worked with the county’s Department of Information Technology and county library staff to make sure that people who may not have computer access or necessary software at home can do the training at county libraries.

Roughly 75 percent of the 2012 returning election judges received their general training online; this year, online training is the only option. The county will offer a few on-site trainings in 2014, reserved for specialized topics for head elections judges and training for Election Day registration, operating voting machines, and reporting statistics.

With online election judge training, the county eliminated most of the live training once offered, reducing expenses for wages, mileage, and overtime.

The online election judge training is available to local municipalities through the county’s website, allowing cities and townships to replicate the county’s move toward efficiency.

Anyone interested in becoming an election judge may contact Dawn Johnson by telephone at 651-430-8270 or by email at


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