When you go to the polls on Tuesday, check to see if there is a well-functioning election board.

When you go to the polls on Tuesday,check to see if there is a well-functioning election board with a Judge of Elections and Majority and Minority inspectors running the election. This is also an opportunity to find out if the incumbents intend to run again. There will no doubt quite a few openings for new election board members in 2013!

The Voter ID law has drawn attention to what has been a very low profile position—the Judge of Elections. In each division, the Judge of Elections resolves disputes and makes determinations about voter eligibility in areas where the law is ambiguous. For example, if the name on a voter’s photo ID (Mary Jane Smith) doesn’t match the voter’s name as recorded in the voter rolls (e.g., M. Jane Smith), the Judge of Elections determines whether the names are “substantially the same;” if so, Ms. Smith can vote. Some cases as to what is “substantially the same” are clear-cut; others are not. What is clear is that with that the Voter ID law, the position of Judge of Elections has become much more important.

Fortunately, the new Voter ID law will not be implemented for the November election. However, it will be back for the 2013 primary and, absent a change in the state legislature, this law is unlikely to go away. The Voter ID law makes it more important than ever that we have fair-minded, well qualified judges of election at every polling place.

Phila NOW and Phila CLUW will hold a workshop on January 14 2013 from 5:30-7:00 at 1606 Walnut to educate members about running for Judge of Elections and Majority and Minority inspectors in 2013,and for committeeperson in 2014. The principal speaker will be City Commissioner Stephanie Singer, who will present information about the 2013 Judge of Elections election.

NOW ran workshops and prepared a booklet for running for committeeperson in 1998 and again in 2002. We plan to update this booklet and include material on running for Judge of Elections. We will make an electronic copy of the booklet available to other groups which would like to run such workshops for their members.

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