Durham County's voters are served by precinct officials who staff early voting sites, as well as precinct officials who serve Election Day polling places. To apply to be a precinct official, please click the link below to complete our application!
Opportunities to Serve as a Precinct Official
Click here to learn more about our COVID-19 response for in-person voting for precinct officials and voters.
These positions are appointed by the Board of Elections, based upon recommendations from Durham County's political parties. Persons appointed must be registered voters of Durham County, of good repute and able to read and write. No person may serve who holds an elective office, is a candidate for office, is a manager or treasurer for any candidate or holds any office in a political party.
Appointment process for chief judge and election judges: Precinct election officials, one chief judge and two judges per precinct, are appointed by the Durham County Board of Elections. Appointments for two-year terms are made in August of odd-numbered years.
Election Day Polling Place Positions
- Chief Judge: The Chief Judge has primary responsibility for conduct of elections in his or her precinct. In this capacity, the Chief Judge contacts responsible parties at the polling site to make arrangements for each election and contacts the Judges and other precinct assistants to confirm their availability. The Chief Judge coordinates election day activities, including resolution of any problems that may arise. Responsibilities include picking up election day supplies, as scheduled, before each election. The Chief Judge calls and conducts a planning meeting in the polling place on Monday prior to each election.
- Election Judges: Judges work closely with the Chief Judge. In the absence of the Chief Judge, a Judge may be appointed to serve as Chief Judge during a given election. The signature of each Judge goes on all official election day returns. If a voter challenge occurs, the Chief Judge and two Election Judges resolve the challenge as a panel.
- Emergency Judges: For each election, some judges are designed as Emergency Judges who can serve as backups in the event that Chief Judges or Election Judges are absent, or to assist the Board of Elections with other Election Day duties that arise.
- Election Assistants: Assistants may be hired to serve Election Day polling places. The Chief Judge assigns all duties and provides training at the pre-election planning meeting immediately prior to each election.
- The Board of Elections may also appoint or designate positions to provide technical support or "rovers" to run materials or provide information to polling places.
Click here to view the 2019-2021 Chief Judge and Judge Appointments.
The Board of Elections will also assign workers to staff early voting sites, open during the two-and-a-half weeks prior to Election Day. Early voting sites and schedules vary by election.
There are generally four or five elections or primaries scheduled in each two-year appointment term of precinct officials. In addition to these predictable elections, special elections may be scheduled by the State, or in some cases, a local government.
- Elections are always held on a Tuesday
- Early voting runs from the third Thursday prior to Election up until the last Saturday before Election Day
- On Election Day, polling places are open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
- Officials must be in the voting place by 6:00 a.m. and remain until all votes have been counted and all documents signed (evening hours)
State law provides that all officials will attend a training session conducted by the local Board of Elections prior to each major primary and election. The training includes specific instructions for each election. Election workers are paid for attendance.
Multipartisan Assistance Team (MAT): This is a team of persons appointed by the Board of Elections provide assistance for certain voters in completing mail-in absentee ballots.