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Judging Information

Judge Day System
    • Judging is owed on a per-day basis for most events. A judge who is entered for judge days in a category must be available for all rounds of that event held on that day. A judge may not fill only part of a day’s obligation. One judge may cover a maximum of 3 days. 
      • Big Questions and World Schools judges do not use the day system; BQ and WS judges must be available Monday-Thursday for all rounds.
    • One judge may cover days in more than one judge category. For example, a judge could cover 1 day of speech and 2 days of Lincoln-Douglas.
    • All judges are eligible to be assigned to judge supplemental speech and Extemp Debate, regardless of whether their school has entries in supplemental events.
    • Judges must have left or graduated high school before July 31, 2022, or earlier to be eligible to judge. Bringing a judge who does not meet this requirement will result in loss of judge bond and a $500 fee ($700 total).
    • All judges must have a linked account. Online ballots will be used in every main and supplemental event.
      • If your account shows “Welcome to Tabroom!”, you will need to link your account to your school before you are eligible to judge at the National Tournament. 
        • Select “Link your account” under the “Are you a judge?” header. 
        • Search for your first and last name as they appear on your school’s judging roster. 
        • Select “Link” next to your name and school.
        • If it says there are no judges with your name, ask the coach you are judging for how your name is displayed on the roster so you can type it in exactly. 
        • The coach of the school you’re judging for will receive an email notification to log in to, select the Judges tab to access your school’s roster, and approve your request to be linked!
      • To double check you are all set up and ready to judge, make sure National Speech and Debate Tournament is listed under the Judging header on the right side of your account.
      • If it’s not, ask your coach to double check that they linked the correct account to your entry in  your school’s online registration.  
Ballot Feedback
    • Judges in all main events and supplemental events will be required to leave written feedback on their ballots. Meaningful written feedback allows coaches and competitors to understand why they received the decision or ranks they did and is essential to growth in speech and debate activities and beyond.
All Judges
    • May 1: Judges with 2+ years of experience coaching, judging, or competing in an event can self-nominate themselves to judge a semifinal or final round. Any judge selected to judge a final round will be paid a $20 honorarium for their time since finals judging is beyond their school’s judging obligation. The self-nomination form can be accessed by logging in to, selecting “National Speech and Debate Tournament” under the Judging header, and selecting “Judge Forms.”
    • May 15: Deadline to certify in that judges have completed the required judge training. More information is coming soon! 
    • May 15: Deadline to complete the Demographics Questionnaire. Demographic information provides an overall baseline of representation within the judging pool and allows the NSDA to effectively facilitate its judge recruitment process and create judge panels that reflect the diversity of our student population and our world. This demographic information will NOT be made public and is not saved year over year. Tab officials will have access to this information at the tournament. Age, role, and experience are required questions, but for others, if you prefer not to answer, select or type “Prefer not to answer.”
    • May 15: The ability to certify judge training was completed, fill out paradigm forms, self-nominate, and complete the demographics questionnaire can be accessed by logging in to, selecting “National Speech and Debate Tournament” under the Judging header, and selecting “Judge Forms.” 
    • June 16: Optional judge training sessions for judges in speech, debate, and Congress will be held on Sunday, June 16 at the Iowa Events Center.
    • Judges will know the day and venue assigned for each day of the tournament in early June. Judges must be at their assigned venue for each round on that day. Read more about when and how judge days and venues are assigned.
    • Judges who are judging a day with preliminary rounds will receive their assignments for preset rounds (round 1 and 2) by Monday morning of the tournament. Every round after that will not be paired until about 30 minutes prior to the round’s start time. Judges who are judging a day with elimination rounds will not receive assignments until up to 30 minutes prior to the round’s start time. 
    • All ballots and judging assignments will be released digitally on No paper ballots or schematics will be distributed. Be sure to pack your chargers and devices!
    • If a judge fails to report for each round on a day they are obligated, their school will forfeit the judge bond of $200 for the first round missed, and a $100 per judge per round penalty will be assessed thereafter. 

Judging Resources

Group of Judges in a room watching students perform

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