To the editor:

As the dust begins to settle on Election Day 2020, candidates and voters alike owe a debt of gratitude to one critical group of people who have persevered to protect our election’s integrity and to give voters confidence that their voice was heard. Whether you voted by mail, at the courthouse, or at your polling place, your one ballot was protected and counted by our community’s election judges. You know them — they are your neighbors, congregation members, township clerks, retired co-workers — and so you trust that they’ve been trained in every facet of voting. They all felt strongly about our democracy and elections enough to volunteer, despite the COVID pandemic. Democrats, Republicans and independents alike all serve together at each polling place. They do so without an agenda beyond ensuring that every legal voter is permitted to vote and that every vote is counted.

It is the 326 Election Judges in Becker County who trained for and successfully executed this election. This team of judges was led by Becker County Auditor Mary Hendrickson and Deputy Auditor Tanya Hockett along with a staff of six and 19,401 voters in Becker County entrusted their ballots to this dedicated group. That’s an amazing turnout given that on Nov. 2 there were 21,396 voters registered.

To this group of 344 Becker County election judges and election administrators, the Detroit Lakes Area League of Women Voters offers you 19,401 rounds of applause and our heartiest congratulations on planning three flawless statewide elections in 2020. You are the reason why Minnesota’s elections system is safe, secure and trusted. For those who have questions about election integrity, we recommend you consider becoming an election judge in 2022. Becoming part of the democratic process will only serve to strengthen your confidence in our elections administration.

Job well done!