As Missoula County searches for a new elections administrator, the work goes on to prepare for the major federal, state and local elections in 2020.

Interim elections administrator Bradley Seaman said the search is on to hire hundreds of election judges for the upcoming primary and general elections.

“Every even-numbered year before our federal election cycle we’re out actively recruiting election judges,” said Seaman. “Election judges are the people who make our election possible. They work in the polling places and they also help us with counting ballots on Election Day. Missoula County is a unique area across the state. We ask our voters how they feel about our election process, and they are strong supporters of our polling place process.”

Even though more voters each cycle are choosing to use absentee ballots that are mailed in, Seaman said there are still at least 30 percent of voters who continue to use polling places to cast their votes, and those workers are required to have specific training.

“By state law we have to bring everybody in, recruit them and train them before the primary,” he said. “We’re in an active push right now and recruit them to sign up online. At that website they can sign up for classes, and we offer three separate levels depending on what people think will work for them and how that might fit for us, as well.”

Seaman said these are not volunteer positions and that all election workers are paid by the county.

“I always call this paid public service,” he said. “Many of our people who come in for training are not doing it for the paycheck. We make sure that they are compensated for their time, even though it is an important public service, as well. “$8.65 is our basic wage for most entry level positions.”

New and returning election judges can sign up at www.MissoulaElectionJudge.com, by calling 406-258-4751 or by emailing electioninfo@missoulacounty.us. When registering, applicants will be required to provide their name, address and date of birth to verify they are registered to vote in Missoula County.

Training sessions are scheduled throughout March and will be held in Building 15 at the Missoula County Fairgrounds, 1101 South Ave. West.