Voter-advocacy organizations are leading efforts to galvanize hundreds of thousands of people to become poll workers for the upcoming general election. One of those nonprofits created a comprehensive database to make finding local jobs much easier.
The voting-rights nonprofit Fair Elections Center launched its Work Elections database over the summer as part of a broader campaign to “Power the Polls,” which is a push to recruit 250,000 poll workers ahead of Election Day, Nov. 3.
“We established Work Elections to provide information and make it easy for folks to sign up,” Richard Brandon, president of the Fair Elections Center, said in an announcement of the recruitment initiative.
And in case you didn’t realize: Poll workers get paid.
The Work Elections interactive database compiles a massive amount of poll worker information from more than 4,000 jurisdictions in Washington D.C. and all states except Hawaii, Oregon and Washington — those three states use universal mail voting and so don’t need many poll workers.
The database lists everything you’ll need to get started as a poll worker, including links to a poll worker job applications, job requirements, and the phone numbers, email addresses and physical addresses of the nearest polling locations.
“This year, with the pandemic affecting the ability of many people who normally work at the polls… poll workers are going to be desperately needed in many communities to help ensure a safe and fair election for voters,” Brandon said.
Like voters, poll workers skew older. And with the coronavirus posing a greater risk to that demographic, it will likely result in poll worker shortages.
Such shortages played out in several states during primary elections – in Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Wisconsin and elsewhere. Some voting officials directly linked the shortages to older folks choosing to self-isolate.
With social distancing practices likely to last beyond November, the Power the Polls initiative is specifically looking to recruit younger people without underlying health conditions.
How Much Do Poll Workers Make?
Poll workers get paid — and in more than the dizzying sense of pride and patriotism! Yes, poll workers earn real cash. They’re paid by the hour or a flat rate for the day.
According to the Working Elections database, hourly rates tend to be between $10 and $15. Daily rates can range from $50 to $300.
Poll workers are going to be desperately needed in many communities to help ensure a safe and fair election.
Training is required but may not always be paid. For the areas that do pay for training, it’s usually a flat rate between $10 and $20.
What’s Required to Become a Poll Worker?
No specific work history or experience is required to become a poll worker. Each jurisdiction sets a few key eligibility factors related to:
- Citizenship or residency
- Voter registration
- Party affiliation
In many areas, poll workers need to be residents who are 16 years old, and who are registered or pre-registered to vote. However, 18 is a common age requirement. Party affiliation might also be a factor in the polling location you’re assigned to, to ensure there is a diversity of political parties represented.
Bilingualism and tech savviness are huge bonuses. Some locations may pay extra to speakers of an in-demand second language.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, however. Be sure to check the requirements in your area for more specifics. And thanks to Work Elections, that will only take a few seconds.