Nov 5, 2012 10:56 PM by KXLF Media Center
BUTTE - Finding enough election judges has been a challenge in recent years, according to Marian Jensen, Democratic observer for Butte-Silver Bow. More than 20 precincts have consolidated to the Butte Civic Center for Election Day.
"This is a seasoned group of judges that we are working with today and so things should go quite smoothly even though it's a record number of absentee ballots," Jensen said.
On Monday, 31 election judges worked together to sort through nearly 10,000 absentee ballots, a record high number of absentee ballots, according to Butte-Silver Bow Clerk and Recorder Sally Hollis.
Arlene Stepan, who has been an election judge for eight years, recalled the election process when it took place at the Butte Court House several years ago.
"We were all in sequestered together in close quarters and really exciting, and I enjoyed it so much," Stepan said. "And each year the duties are a little bit different."
The election judges used to open the ballots and process them on the same day.
"Now it's more organized," Stepan said. "We come in a day early so we get a lot of it done."
Election judges are hard to find these days because many people cannot take two days off work to dedicate to the election, according to Jensen. The group gathered at the Butte Civic Center on Monday knew each other very well. Many are retired and volunteer each election for the job.
"I believe they are patriots and I commend every one of them" said Jean Ruppert, republican observer for Butte-Silver Bow. "Democrat, independent, republican...I think that's so important to love your country and give time for your country."
Polls open at the Butte Civic Center at 7a.m. Tuesday morning. Polls open at noon in Rocker, Divide and Melrose. Polls will close at 8 p.m. tomorrow night.