Elections & Voting :: Election Poll Worker Default :: Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Q: What is Democracy is on the Line: Be A Poll Worker?
- A: The Missouri Secretary of State’s office is partnering with businesses, academic institutions and civic and labor groups around the state to help local election authorities recruit additional poll workers for the 2010 elections. Democracy is on the Line - Be A Poll Worker allows you to sign up via the Internet to become a poll worker. Your contact information will then be forwarded to your local election authority. By filling out this form, you are simply expressing your interest in becoming a poll worker. Filling out this form does not commit you to serving. After the county clerk or election board receives your contact information, they will contact you directly about serving as a poll worker.
- Q: What does a poll worker or election judge do?
- A: Poll workers and election judges staff polling places on Election Day. They are the citizens who help ensure the voting process goes smoothly. Poll workers check in registered voters, answer questions and make sure that everyone who is eligible is given the opportunity to vote. Recent changes in voting equipment and new federal and state laws make it more important than ever to have well-trained, knowledgeable poll workers helping run our elections to give voters confidence in the elections process.
- Q: Are poll workers and elections judges paid?/span>
- A: Yes, each local election authority determines the amount they pay their poll workers. In Missouri, pay ranges from approximately $64 to $100 per day. Most jurisdictions also have money allotted for attending training sessions as well.
- Q: Are poll workers and election judges required to declare a political party?
- A: Election judges are required to declare a political party. State law requires that each polling place be staffed by at least two Republican and two Democratic election judges. Your local election authority must fulfill the requirement for judges from the major political parties before unaffiliated judges can be considered.
There may also be other jobs that would not require stating a particular party affiliation. Your local election authority will make that determination.
- Q: I don’t consider myself a Democrat or a Republican. Can I still be a poll worker?
- A: Yes. In some cases your local election authority may want you to serve as a poll worker. In particular, there may be some “technical specialist” jobs that may not require people to state their party affiliation.
- Q: How will I learn what duties are expected of me on Election Day?
- A: You will need to attend at least one training session conducted by your local election authority prior to Election Day. These training sessions usually take place about 4 to 6 weeks prior to Election Day and provide you with everything you need to know about the voting equipment used in your jurisdiction, legal processes and procedures, along with information for answering voter questions.
- Q: When is the training session?
- A: About 4 to 6 weeks prior to Election Day. Your local election authority will provide the time and place for trainings. The amount of time required for training will vary based on your election jurisdiction, but usually lasts from 2 to 8 hours. Local election authorities are usually flexible about this and can provide for trainings in the evening or over the weekend.
- Q: When do the polls open and close on Election Day?
- A: Poll workers must open the polls at 6:00 am on Election Day and keep them open until 7:00pm. Any voter who is in line at 7:00 pm is allowed to vote.
- Q: Is my work complete when the polls close?
- A: Not just yet. When the polls close, you will be asked to help with important procedural duties to complete the voting process, protect the integrity of all of the cast ballots and help get the results back to the main office.
- Q: What if I can only work half of the day?
- A: Provided that your local election authority has enough workers to do so, split shifts are allowed by state statute. This is done at the discretion of the local election authority.
- Q: Do I have to take a vacation day from work to serve as a poll worker?
- A. Although they are not required to do so, many employers allow those working as poll workers time off with pay, just like serving on jury duty. Check with your employer to determine their protocol on this.
- Q: Will I be assigned to work at the place I normally vote?
- A. Not necessarily. Your local election authority will determine where you are needed to work on Election Day.
- Q: How can I cast my ballot if I am not working at my regular polling place?
- A. Many poll workers cast their ballot by voting absentee since they will be working on Election Day. Speak with your local election authority to ensure that you are able to cast your ballot. We want to ensure that you can vote as well as serve as a poll worker on Election Day.
- Q: Do I have to know how to use a computer to be a poll worker?
- A: It is not mandatory, but it is beneficial for poll workers to have some experience with computers. However, those without computer experience are still encouraged to participate. All poll workers will go through training to assure that they know how to use the voting equipment and fulfill all of their job duties.
- Q: Is there an age requirement for serving as a poll worker?
- A: You must be a registered voter and therefore at least 18 years old prior to or on Election Day. Those under 18 interested in serving their community should consider becoming Youth Election Participants.
"I loved working the polls. Thanks for letting me be a part of it."
- 2006 Poll Worker