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Civic Engagement: How to Volunteer at the Polls

Written By:

Mecedes Lindsay

Publishing Date:

September 8, 2022

Poll workers play a significant role in ensuring elections are successful. The majority of poll workers are people at or beyond the age of retirement who are greatly involved in their communities and religious institutions. Due to a rise in Covid-19 cases, many of them run the risk of falling ill which could lead to a shortage in poll workers. Although voters can vote by mail, many still elect to vote in person due to personal reasons such as disabilities and unreliable mail services.

Due to the critical role poll workers play, having enough staff before and on Election Day can allow for the process to run smoothly and provide voters with proper assistance. So if you are young, healthy and willing to volunteer, here are a few steps on how you can volunteer at the polls.

Disclaimer: Each state has its own requirements to be an election worker.

Most common requirements:

  • Be at least 16 years of age.

  • Have proof of residency in the state you plan to volunteer in.

  • Have proof of registration to vote if 18 years of age (or 17 but will be turning 18 by the election date).

  • Confirm party affiliation (particularly in primary elections).

  • Required to attend a training session and work full Election Day.

You can find more information at https://workelections.org and https://866ourvote.org. These are two great websites for more details regarding the requirements in your state.

Being a poll worker isn’t easy work but if you are dedicated to helping your community and willing to take on the challenges then here are the basic duties:

  • Checking in voters

  • Distributing ballots

  • Instructing voters on voting machine use

  • Answering questions

  • Keeping the location organized and clean

  • Help setting up polls

  • Explain voting procedures

  • Assisting voters with machines (does not include filling out the ballot for the voter)

  • Registering individuals to vote (if located in a same-day registration state)

  • Verifying registrants and using the precinct at the end of the day

For more information, call:

866-OUR-VOTE: Lawyers committee (English)

866-VE-Y-VOTA: Spanish, English

866-API- vote: English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog

844-YALLA-US: Arabic, English

Sources

National Poll Worker Recruitment Day: U.S. Election Assistance Commission. National Poll Worker Recruitment Day | U.S. Election Assistance Commission. (n.d.). Retrieved September 1, 2022, from https://www.eac.gov/help-america-vote