Be a Poll Worker

Why Volunteer as a Poll Worker?

  • Take a break from work or school to learn how elections are run and help voters exercise their right to vote.
  • Use your technical skills to help voters operate new voting machines.
  • Use your language skills to help voters whose first language is not English.
  • Encourage and inspire your peers to vote.
  • Ensure that elections are fair and accurate.
  • Protect voters’ rights by ensuring that everyone who wants to vote can and that every ballot is counted.
  • The U.S. was 600,000 poll workers short of the number needed to run a smooth election in November, 2004!
  • Most cities and towns pay poll workers.

Who can volunteer?

  • All registered voters may apply to be poll workers in any city or town.  Also,  cities and towns may hire up to two 16- and 17-year olds as poll workers for each polling place.
  • No previous training or knowledge is required. Many municipalities offer training sessions.
  • Some precincts need poll workers who can also serve as translators.

What are my responsibilities?

  • Attend training sessions, when offered, with local election officials before Election Day. Then show up for volunteer work!
  • Shifts vary among communities. Some cities and towns require that poll workers work the entire time polls are open; others have split shifts.
  • Prepare the precinct by setting up voting equipment and organizing materials.
  • Provide voters with appropriate ballots.
  • Assist voters in completing their ballots if requested.
  • Serve as a translator, working before Election Day at the election office or at the polls on Election Day.
  • Direct voters to their correct polling place if they are at the wrong precinct.
  • Close the precinct and prepare election materials and reports as necessary.
  • In many communities poll workers get paid.

How do I sign up?

  • Each city and town has a different process for recruiting poll workers. Call your city or town clerk to find out how to become a poll worker in your community.