The Flathead Valley’s Leading Independent Journal of Observation, Analysis, & Opinion. © James R. Conner.


5 December 2012

Bozeman legislator still wants to legalize callow election judges

Not all bad ideas come from Republicans. Franke Wilmer, the Bozeman Democrat who will represent House District 63 in the 2013 legislative session, is once again pushing a bill to allow 16-year-olds to serve as election judges. In the 2011 legislative session, representing HD-64, she introduced a similar measure, HB-88, which, fortunately, died in committee. Wilmer carried that bill at the request of Linda McCulloch, Montana’s Secretary of State, who thinks having youth election judges will mitigate an alleged shortage of election judges.


There are plenty of pools of adults who could be tapped for election judge service. For example, teachers and public employees (make election day a mandatory holiday).

Election judges too young to vote is a bad idea. Governing is an adult activity. Sixteen-year-olds lack the maturity, experience, and judgment to vote, and therefore lack the maturity, experience, and judgment to serve as election judges. And that’s true even if they’re wise enough to be Democrats.

Wilmer should drop this request and spend her time on things to help Montana.