All Town Politics: How To Help Your Town Get To The Polls
Though politics may have us as divided as ever, there is still one thing that should unite us American voters: our right to vote.
With two-thirds of Americans believing that democracy is under threat, we wanted to share a small post today that focuses on - and celebrates - those folks who help make Election Day a smooth one.
Below you’ll find information about working at the polls, who’s eligible, what you can expect, and non-election day ways to continue making our voting process as fair and accessible as possible.
5 Things To Know About Working At The Polls
Each State Is Unique - The U.S. doesn’t always like to make things simple, and working at the polls is the same way. Each state has its own requirements about working at the polls, ranging from Hawaii not having traditional polling places to states that recruit by region, county, or municipality. To get the answers for your home state, go to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s page.
There Aren’t Enough Poll Workers - 68% of jurisdictions found it very or somewhat difficult to get enough people to work the polls. Fewer workers can lead to longer lines and longer wait times which could end up leading to frustrations with the voting system. So, just who can be a poll worker? Qualifications vary. Many states require poll workers to be registered to vote in the states or county where they intend to serve. Exceptions exist, especially in the cases of states that allow 16 and 17-year-old poll workers and non-citizen residents of the states.
More Than Just Stickers - Though a bright spot of working at the polls is getting to hand people their coveted “I Voted” stickers, your list of tasks is actually quite long. It can include setting up the voting equipment, checking in voters, helping to process ballots, assisting voters with special needs, and closing down the voting site at the end of the day. Beyond the day-of duties, poll workers may also be involved with issuing provisional ballots as well as opening and counting mailed ballots.
Civic Duty That Pays - While there may be some confusion between volunteering at the polls or working at the polls, the official role of poll worker is actually a job. States often pay between $100 and $200 for the day, helping to set up the site itself, and early voting. It is serious work, though (besides the fact that you’re protecting an American institution). Working the polls often requires training depending on the role they’ll be doing on election day.
- Volunteer Around The Year - For non-election day work to get people registered to vote, informed about elections, and engaged, organizations like Rock the Vote continue to be a great resource. For work supporting the protection of free and open elections, Election Protection is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to supporting voters in exercising their right to vote.
While we may have different opinions about certain issues than each of our neighbors, we can ensure that our community is better when our neighbors get to express their opinions at the polls.
That’s the idea behind our Better Your Community IRLA Pack, and it’s an idea we hope each of you take with you to the polls this year.