Precinct Officials

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Persons appointed must be registered voters, residents of the 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.



Precinct election officials, one chief judge and two judges per precinct, are recommended by the political parties and appointed by the Durham County Board of Elections. Appointments for two-year terms are made in August of odd-numbered years.



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.



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 Judges and the Chief Judge resolve the challenge as a panel.



Under guidance provided by the Board of Elections, Assistants may be hired to serve at the discretion and direction of the Chief Judge. The Chief Judge assigns all duties and provides training at the pre-election planning meeting immediately prior to each election.



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. Printed material is issued to each Chief Judge and Judge. The training includes specific instructions for each election. Precinct election officials are paid for attendance.



There are generally four or five elections or primaries scheduled in each two-year appointment term. The fifth election occurs if a party primary runoff is needed. In addition to these predictable elections, referenda or bond elections may be scheduled at the discretion of the City Council, the Board of County Commissioners, or the State Legislature.
  • Elections are always held on a Tuesday
  • By state law, the polls are open from 6:30 AM until 7:30 PM
  • Officials must be in the voting place by 6:00 AM and remain until all votes have been counted and all documents signed (normally by 9:00 PM)



Pay Rates Chief Judge Party Judge Assistant
Instructional Training (includes Equipment Training)
$25 $25 $25
Pre-Election Set-Up Mtg $15 $15 $15
Election Day $235 $210 $190
Help Desk Training (all Judges) $25 $25  
Supply Pickup $20    
Audit $20    



  • Smoking is not permitted in the voting enclosure. 
  • Precinct staff are not permitted to wear campaign buttons or political jewelry. 
  • Precinct staff may not advocate for any candidate or party on election day.



If you would like more information on becoming a Precinct Official, contact the Board of Elections via e-mail at or at (919) 560-0700.