When You’re the Chief Judge

Click here for the Chief Judge’s Committee Guideline

Please download the required forms from here.


  • Make sure you have obtained a certification of originality and eligibility form for each
    contestant. You should have received this form from an earlier contest. If you don’t,
    ask the contestant to fill out one before the contest begins.
  • Attend the contestant briefing that will be conducted by the Toastmaster of the
    contest. If the judges training is after the contestant briefing obtain the names of the
    contestants and their speaking order so that you can tell your judges when you brief
    them on their duties.
  • You, as chief judge, should not be a judge unless absolutely necessary.
  • When the contest is over, make sure that you ask the 1st and 2nd place winners to fill
    out the notification of contest winner form. You should make sure that the next level
    chief judge receives this form along with the each speaker’s certification of originality
    and eligibility form.
  • How many judges should you have?
    1. At the club level, use five judges if possible.
    2. At the area level, you must have at least five judges or equal representation from
      the clubs composing the area.
  • At the division level and above, you must have at least seven judges or equal
    representation from the Areas composing the Division or the Divisions composing
    the District.
  • One of your judges must be a tiebreaker judge. This judge should be a member of a
    club that is outside of the contest jurisdiction; i.e. for a club contest, a member from
    another club; for an area contest, a member from a club from a different area, for a
    division contest, a member from a club from a different division, for district contest, a
    member from a club from a different district.
  • You must have three ballot counters.
  • You must have two timekeepers.
  • Brief all of your Judges, Timekeepers, Ballot Counters and Sergeant at Arms
    before the contest begins.
    Briefing the Judges
  • Tell judges to sign the bottom part (below the dotted line) of their ballots now.
  • Explain the ballot to the judges:
    1. Contestant names are written across the top of the ballot. However, you may not
      know the order of the contestants until the contest begins, at which time the
      Toastmaster of the contest will announce the order of the contestants.
    2. Along the side of the ballot are the judging items. When a contestant finishes
      his/her speech, write what you think the contestant’s score should be to the right of
      each judging item and in the column for that contestant.
    3. You will be given one minute of silence after each contestant finishes his/her
      speech to write down your score and add them up for your total score for that
    4. Read the back of your ballot for a description of each judging item.
    5. Read the Judge’s code of ethics on the back of the ballot.
    6. When the contest is over, you will have two minutes (or more if needed) to
      complete your ballot and fill in the bottom part.
    7. Only write down your choice for 1st, 2nd or 3rd place contestant. Do not write anything else in the bottom part of the ballot other than your choice for 1st, 2nd or 3rd place contestant plus your signature and printed name.
    8. When the contest is over, only turn in bottom part of your ballot to the ballot counters, who will be collecting them.
    9. Destroy top part of the ballot at some location away from the contest site.
  • Try not to sit next to or near any of the contestants.
  • How to make a protest:
    1. Only judges or contestants can make a protest.
    2. Protests can only be based on eligibility or originality.
    3. A protest must be made to the chief judge or contest chairman before the announcement of the winners is made. After that, it’s too late.
    4. The contestant must be given an opportunity to respond to the judges on a protest regarding originality. Then, the judges will vote as to whether or not they concur. A majority vote of the judges is needed to concur.
    5. The contest chairman will privately tell a contestant that he was disqualified on the basis of eligibility before the contest adjourns.

Briefing the Tiebreaker Judge

  • Same rules apply as for a regular judge.
  • As the tiebreaker judge, you must rank every contestant on your ballot, not only the
    three winners.
  • Your ballot will only be used if there is a tie for 1st, 2nd or 3rd place; otherwise, you
    ballot will not be used.
    Briefing the Timekeepers
  • Listen for when speaker utters his/her first world or obviously begins speech with
    gestures or sound equipment. Then, start your stopwatch.
  • Show lights/signals/flags for low, middle, and high times.
  • Leave high light/signal/flag on; do not turn it off even if speaker goes over time.
  • Backup timer keeps time in case primary timer does not pay attention or his/her
    stopwatch malfunctions.

Briefing the Sergeant at Arms

  • Secure doors at the beginning of contest.
  • Nobody can enter/leave room until the contest is over and all ballots have been
  • However, if anybody insists on leaving/entering the room, they can only do it during
    the one-minute of silence between the speeches.
  • Additional Evaluation Contest procedures:
    1. Arrange for a separate room for the contestants to wait their turn. (If a separate
      room isn’t practical; all contestants will be required to at least leave the room until
      they are introduced.)
    2. At the beginning of the contest, escort all but first contestant to separate room.
    3. Each contestant will be called back in turn to present their speech. Retrieve the
      next contestant during the one minute of silence between speeches.

Briefing the Ballot Counters

  • When the contest is over:
    1. Go around the room and collect the ballots from the judges.
    2. Get the timer sheet from the timekeeper.
    3. Leave the room with the chief judge once all ballots and the timekeeper sheet is collected.
    4. The chief judge and the ballot counters should count the ballots in a different location other than the contest meeting room.
  • Count the ballots:
    1. Don’t use tiebreaker ballot unless there is a tie.
    2. All ballot counters and the Chief Judge observe ballot counting to make sure no errors occur.
    3. Make sure you look at the timekeeper’s sheet for any disqualifications based on time.
    4. Each judge’s ballot must be signed. If not, the ballot is discarded and not counted.
    5. Use the Counter’s Tally Sheet form to tally the score:
      • Write the names of the contestants along the top of the form.
      • Write the names of the judges along the side of the form. Do not write down the tiebreaker judge’s name.
      • Write the appropriate number of points given by each judge under each contestant’s name. Then, add up the score for each contestant.
      • If there is a tie for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, follow these tie-breaking procedures:
        1. Only if a tie exists do you refer to tiebreaker ballot.
        2. Look for contestant names on tiebreaker ballot that are tied.
        3. The highest ranked contestant on tiebreaker ballot wins tie.
    6. Once the 1st place contestants are determined, the chief judge will write this down and give it to the contest chairman. If any of the contestants went over time, write down that “a contestant was disqualified on the basis of time” but not the contestant’s name(s).

Announcement of Winners
If the announcement of the winners by the contest chairman is incorrect or in the wrong order, only the Chief Judge, a ballot counter or a timekeeper can bring the error to everyone’s attention. Immediately interrupt the contest chairman making the announcement and privately tell the contest chairman and the Chief Judge what the correct order should be or why a contestant should not be identified as a winner.