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A judge participates in a contest according to the rules of the Speech Contest Rulebook. Judges, who are not identified to the audience or contestants so that they may act without interference, are asked to "choose a winner" for each contest.

Judges are usually selected by the Chief Judge and must be impartial. They are supplied with Contest Ballots which describe the categories in which speakers are to be graded. Judges, however, do not give the grading to anyone else, but are asked to only specify the winner (and perhaps the second-place and third-place choice).

The Chief Judge does not vote, and is identified to the audience. The Speech Contest Rulebook describes the Chief Judge's role, including the instances when the Chief Judge must resolve a complaint from a Contestant or audience member.

The Chief Judge also chooses a Tie-Breaking Judge, who is given a special ballot.

Judges may not serve until they have taken judges' training. Judges' training is available each time that LACE occurs.

Note that while judges are to be anonymous, a judge who separately is a dignitary may be identified as a dignitary (but not as a judge) when the names on the Protocol List are read to the audience.