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Election Judges and Alternates FAQs
Note: Travis County Republican Party is abbreviated "TCRP" and Travis County Elections Division is abbreviated "TCED".
How are election judges and alternates assigned?
In the spring of even-numbered years TCRP will appoint an election judge to a
precinct for a two-year term. The term appointed judge must be a registered voter
who resides in the precinct. The appointed judge is expected to serve in each
election. TCRP also creates a list of alternate judges for primaries and to serve if
the appointed judge is unavailable. The judge list is verified by TCED and presented
to the County Commissioners Court for formal appointment. (Note that there are
many precincts with no term appointed judge.)
Prior to an election TCRP will contact its term appointed judges to confirm that each will work in the upcoming election as the first step. If the judge declines or does not respond, TCRP will contact alternates and then general volunteers to fill the positions. The judges must be Travis County registered voters but do not have to reside in the precinct to serve.
There is a statutory deadline for the Party to turn over its list of assignments to
TCED. After the deadline TCED can make emergency assignments to fill vacancies.
TCED will check the TCRP list and contact the judges and alternates to formally
make the assignments and schedule training. If TCED is not able to contact a
judge, they can make an emergency appointment. TCED will issue a formal Writ of
Election to the judges and alternates making the legal assignments.
Doesn’t Travis County Elections assign the judges and run the election?
TCED runs the election under contract with TCRP (or the city, school district, etc.
depending on the type of election). TCED contacts the judges and alternates based
on the list supplied by TCRP (see above for more information). TCED also makes
emergency judge assignments as described above. TCED provides election worker
training. TCED provides the equipment for voting as well as the processing of the
votes. TCED pays the election workers.
How do I apply to be a worker for Early Voting?
Early Voting is run by TCED under a different process than Election Day voting.
TCRP is not involved in assigning election deputies (workers) for early voting. You
must apply through TCED on Airport Blvd, and you will need to bring your signed
social security card to complete the application. Information on hours and location
of TCED can be found on their website.
Where is the polling place for my precinct?
TCED determines the location of the polling places, and some precincts are
combined. The polling places are published on the TCED website.
What is the role of an election judge and the alternate judge?
Each polling place has an election judge and an alternate judge. For a joint primary election there is an election judge and alternate for both the Republican Party and the Democrat Party. For other elections the election judge will be from the majority party based on the number of votes in the most recent gubernatorial election in that precinct and the minority party serves as the alternate judge.
The election judge primarily oversees the polling place to ensure that the election
is carried out properly. The judge has a number of responsibilities before, during,
and after the election. The alternate judge assists and supports the election judge in
all their responsibilities. The alternate judge runs the laptop and is responsible for
attending ADA training. (See more below for specific responsibilities of the judge.)
What are the hours required?
The polls are open from 7 AM until 7 PM. Poll workers are usually required to be at the polls at least 30 minutes before and after. Judges have responsibilities before the election and after the election as well (see below for more details).
How do I get training?
TCED provides the required training for election judges and alternates. Training for
judges and alternates is on site at their offices on Airport Blvd. TCED will contact
the judges and alternates to schedule training. The training typically takes about 4
hours and occurs within 20 days prior to the election. TCRP requests that judges
and alternates also attend supplemental training provided by TCRP. Training for
clerks is provided online (see Clerk FAQs for more information).
Are judges paid and if so, how much?
Election workers are paid by Travis County. Each worker will fill out a form at the beginning of the election day with employment information, and the judge turns those in as part of the election materials. Travis County will mail paychecks to election workers after the election. The wage is set by the Secretary of State, and for the 2012 primary it is set as a maximum of $8 per hour. Training time is not paid. A fixed amount of compensation is paid for equipment pick up and delivery. The funds to run the election ultimately come from the State of Texas via the Secretary of State’s office.
What are the responsibilities of the election judge?
The primary responsibility of the election judge is to protect the integrity of the
election process. Training on the equipment and procedures will be provided by
TCED. Below are some tasks that are in addition to work done at the polls.
TCED will contact the judge and inform him/her of the polling place, polling place
contact, and number of clerks to hire.
The election judge calls the polling place contact provided by TCED to verify details
about access to the site on the election day.
TCED will inform each judge in the Writ of Election of the number of clerks that
they may hire, but there will generally be a minimum of two clerks per judge. One
clerk must be bilingual (English and Spanish). The number of clerks is based on the
number of voters expected at the polling place.
TCED will schedule the time for the judge to pick up the election equipment. The
booths are delivered and setup by TCED personnel, but the laptop and other
equipment are transported by the judge.
The election judge picks up the equipment from TCED within 48 hours of the
election based on a time period set by TCED. The judge delivers the equipment to
the polling location, oversees its setup, and returns it to the assigned substation
immediately after closing the polls. The judge can get assistance from others to
physically move the equipment, but the judge must oversee it at all times. The
judge from each party is expected to accompany the equipment to the substation
to ensure the integrity of the votes. TCED personnel handle transportation of the
booths to and from the polling locations.
The judge is responsible for closing the polls on election night and delivering the
equipment to the receiving substation immediately. TCED will communicate the
location of the substation for each precinct.
Can I attend my precinct convention?
We suggest that the election judge not be the precinct convention chair since
it may be difficult to close the poll, go to the receiving substation, and get back for
the beginning of the precinct convention.
Can I send someone else to the substation?
The election judge is personally responsible for returning the election equipment
and materials to the receiving substation immediately after closing the polls. TCED
can send law enforcement to locate you if you do not show up. If someone else
delivers the equipment and materials in your place and there is a problem, TCED
must be able to contact you to come to the substation or may otherwise send law
enforcement to locate you.
Where can I find more information?
The TCED website has useful information about the election.
The Secretary of State oversees the election. Their website has useful information.