By Janet Kubat Willette
WESTFIELD TOWNSHIP, Minn. — All was quiet at Westfield Township Hall last week, save for the occasional hum of traffic on Highway 30.
But that will all change come Nov. 7, said Julie L. Peterson, the township clerk.
The five election judges will arrive at 6 a.m. to begin initialing and counting ballots before the first voters start streaming in the door at 7 a.m. when the polls open.
Someone will bring doughnuts to share and each will bring their lunch and supper, because no one can leave until the polls close at 8 p.m.
"It’s very serious business," Peterson said. "We just sit here and wait for voters."
She became an election judge in 1979 when she married and moved to the township.
She’s been involved in the election every year since, working at township, primary and general elections and sometimes serving as a judge in Blooming Prairie when the school district has a question on the ballot.
"It’s a way of keeping in touch with your neighbors," she said. She knows most everyone who walks through the door at the township hall.
Peterson technically won’t serve as a judge this election, but she’ll still be at the hall. As clerk, her job is to swear in all the judges and make sure everything is posted correctly.
Signs in six languages: Hmong, Russian, Somali, English, Spanish and Vietnamese are already posted. She’ll sit at her desk near the kitchen and catch up on paperwork while the other judges see to the voters.