Editorial Roundup: Voting election judges have an important role

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Many area municipalities have begun or will soon begin the training of citizen election judges, and this year the work of those judges will be more important than it has possibly ever been.

The integrity of the U.S. voting system has been challenged ever since the results of the 2020 presidential election in which ex-President Donald Trump falsely claimed the election was fixed and the voting system was rigged. Despite numerous legal cases that showed no voter fraud, the false narrative continues to filter through the U.S. information infrastructure.

The information that the voting system is somehow corrupt is easily spread through social media and websites of groups that feed these false narratives. A well-funded effort to hold “election integrity” meetings across the country has also spread the false narratives.

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In some cases, those who would challenge the integrity of the 2020 election have actually breached secure voting places unlawfully and contributed to the problem by copying computer codes and otherwise tampering with equipment. The federal government is investigating.

But because we have First Amendment rights in this country, the solution cannot be to ban the false speech. The strategy has to be to combat falsity with the truth.

And there’s plenty of truth about how elections are conducted. In Minnesota, one can read the website of counties and the Secretary of State to find detailed information about the process of voting and the vote counting itself. The public can be present during the testing of all voting equipment that is done before every election and witness vote counting on election night.

The election judges will soon receive detailed training and instruction for answering any question voters might have and helping everyone follow the rules at the polling places.

A few weeks ago, Blue Earth County reported it had a shortage of election judges and the county encourages applications all the time. Judges are paid and can work half a shift or a full shift.

Minnesota law requires election judges disclose what party they generally affiliate with so there can be an equal number of judges from the major parties. But for the most part, judges leave their politics at the door when they begin their duties as election judges.

A few of the rules election judges follow: checking voters in against a list of registered voters and making sure they are voting in the right precinct; making sure there is no campaigning or lingering within 100 feet of a polling place; asking people to cover up campaign and candidate signs or badges; and allow voters to have assistance to help them vote, if for example, they are disabled.

Being an election judge is an honor and privilege in America. Judges ensure democracy functions as it should with everyone being able to vote without fear or favor.

We encourage all to consider becoming an election judge. Your service to your country will be appreciated, especially in these times of distrust.

Mankato Free Press, Sept. 19

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Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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