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Poll Worker

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Being a Poll Worker – FAQ

What does a poll worker do?

Poll workers make elections happen. They’re the on-the-ground people who work at polling locations and make voting possible. Exact responsibilities vary depending on location and role on the team, but may include:

  • Setting up and wiping down voting machines
  • Checking in and processing voters as they arrive
  • Directing voters to open booths
  • Helping voters maintain physical distance in lines
  • Helping voters understand and complete their ballots
  • Issuing provisional ballots if needed
  • Opening and counting mailed ballots
Who can be a poll worker?

Qualifications vary by jurisdiction. Many places require poll workers to be registered to vote in the states or county where they intend to serve, but many exceptions exist:

  • Many states allow 16 and 17-year-olds
  • Some states allow residents of the state who are not citizens
  • Some states allow poll workers to serve in other areas throughout the state
Are poll workers paid?

While some positions are volunteer, most local election offices pay poll workers a stipend that ranges between $75 – $500. Pay varies by location, shift length and number of days you’ll be working (i.e early voting polling sites need poll workers too!)

Can I be a poll worker if I have school?

Poll working is often an excused absence from school if you:

  • Sign up to be a poll worker
  • Ask your teacher/professor to excuse you on Election Day to be a poll worker
  • Download and fill out an excused absence form
  • Ask the election office to complete it
  • Submit it to your teachers
Do poll workers receive training?

In most cases, yes – poll workers will be required to attend mandatory training that provides skills and information to serve in their roles. Requirements, length of training and format (in person or virtually) varies by jurisdiction, but training is generally a few hours.

Are poll workers with any special skills or backgrounds needed?

Yes, bilingual or multilingual poll workers, poll workers who identify with a historically marginalized community, poll workers under the age of 40.

Can poll workers only work part of the day?

Most jurisdictions require poll workers to work the full shift. Some may allow poll workers to sign up for a shorter shift. Sign up to be a poll worker and let your election office know your availability.

Is there flexibility on where poll workers serve?

In most jurisdictions, you will serve in the area where you are registered to vote or live. Some states allow poll workers to serve in other areas of the state, particularly if you are 18 or older. Poll workers may express to election officials their preferred location and with whom they’d like to serve, but these requests may not be granted for a variety of reasons.

When do poll workers vote?

Some jurisdictions require poll workers to vote early or absentee. Some poll workers cast their ballot on Election Day. Be sure to ask your election official for guidance after you sign up.