Becoming a Pollworker/Precinct Official in NC

Campus Administrators:  Want to launch a Student Poll Worker Program? 
Check out this guide from the Campus Vote Project and see WCU's initiative below!

Western Carolina University's College Poll Worker Recruitment Program

In 2009 the Public Policy Institute at WCU sponsored the College Poll Worker Recruitment Program to diversify pool of poll workers. During the 2009 general municipal elections 31 college students and young adults served in the following capacities:

• Poll Worker assistants – 24 recruits served in the various precincts as Poll Worker assistants.
• Rovers – 3 recruits transported various supplies to individual precincts, as needed.
• Technical Assistants – 4 recruits responded to precincts’ phone calls regarding issues with the new Onsite Voter Registration Database (OVRD).

Program participants were comprised of students from Western Carolina and various colleges and universities throughoug the region. Learn more here.

Please note that the information on this page is subject to change.  Check with the Board of Elections in your county for current information.

At the time of the 2008 election several studies revealed that the average age for poll workers nationwide was 72 years old.  There is a need for younger people to become engaged in the electoral process in this capacity. North Carolina Campus Compact wants to encourage college students to become pollworkers in advance of the November 2012 Presidential Election.  Please note that in North Carolina the title “pollworker” is synonymous with “precinct official.”


Want inspiration?  Check out a cool video created by the Wake County Board of Elections!


 

Click here to download the official North Carolina Board of Elections
Precinct Election Official Recruiting Guide and Application.

 

What is a Pollworker/Precinct Official?

Some have called them the “frontline of democracy.”  By assisting at polling sites on Election Day, precinct officials help facilitate the voting process for registered voters.

Benefits of Becoming a Pollworker/Precinct Official (as per the Wake County NC Board of Elections)

  • Fulfill your civic duty
  • Make friends
  • Meet people in your neighborhood
  • Have fun
  • Learn about elections
  • Make extra cash
  • Looks great on resumes
     

Who can become a Pollworker/Precinct Official in North Carolina?

  • Must be a registered voter
  • Must be a resident of the county in which the precinct is located
  • Must not be an elected government official or a manager or treasurer for any candidate or political party
  • Must not be a candidate in the election or a candidate's spouse, parent, sibling or children. 

In general the expectation is that a pollworker/precinct official will be registered with a political party.  However, a county may fill positions with unaffiliated workers when necessary.  

Other important qualifications include: good moral character, ability to read and write accurately, follow directions, work at a fast past, lift up to 25 pounds, and have excellent customer service skills. It is preferable, but not required, that poll workers have some type of computer experience.

How do I become a Pollworker/Precinct Official in North Carolina?

 To be considered for a precinct official position individuals should submit an interest form/application to be kept on file in the Board of Elections in the county where you are registered.

  • You can complete the application contained in the brochure at the top of this page “Recruiting Guide and Application”, print and mail it to the county Board of Elections where you are registered.  
  • You can contact the Board of Elections office in the county where you are registered to ask for an application. Plesae note that many counties have the appplicaiton posted online for download.  In some NC counties, such as Nash and Wake, the application can be submitted online. 
  • The application is usually a simple one-page form. Once the Board of Elections has received the completed form, the applicant will be contacted to confirm receipt.  Once a position becomes available, applicants will be contacted.

Available Positions

CHIEF JUDGE  - the head official and is in charge of election day activities, as well as picking up and returning election day supplies.
JUDGE  - works closely with the Chief Judge and is responsible for conducting the election in the Chief Judge’s absence. They must sign all official documents and serve on a panel to resolve any challenges.

By law, Judges who work at the polls on Election Day are recommended by the two major political parties, and are appointed by the County Board of Elections.   Judges are appointed on odd-numbered years and serve two years in their positions. 

The ASSISTANTS serve when needed and at the discretion and direction of the Chief Judge. Assistants work at the polls to assist the Judges in serving the voters during the elections process by performing specific duties on Election Day.  The number of Assistants used on Election Day at each precinct will depend on both the size of the precinct and on the expected voter turnout for that particular election.  Assistants are either recommended by their respective party to the Board of Elections Office, or they are recruited directly by the Board of Elections Office after completing an application*


*In most cases, persons will have served as an Assistant before becoming a Judge.
 

What are the Duties and Responsibilities of an Election Assistant?

Assistants serve as team players at their assigned precincts. They will be assigned a specific job to perform on Election Day, but should be flexible to fill in for other Assistants in their respective jobs if needed.  Possible duties include:

  • Assist at the polling place set-up on Monday before Election Day
  • Work at the registration table if assigned
  • Help make voter traffic run smoothly
  • Serve as curbside official
  • Give voter information or voting demonstration
  • Monitor Exit Station
  • Work at the Help Table if assigned
  • Assist with polling place break-down after polls close on Election Day

Commitment

Must be available all day on the date of your assigned election. All precinct officials must be at their voting location at least by 5:45 a.m. and must remain there until all votes have been counted and documents signed, unless other duties have been assigned to particular individuals (approximately until  9 p.m.). On Election Day, if Assistants leaves the polling site before the polls close, they are not allowed re-entry to the site.

Training

All officials are required to attend training sessions/instructional meetings conducted by the county board of election prior to each major primary and general election.  Training is usually conducted the month prior to the election, and workers are notified by their Board of Elections (via mail or phone) of the exact dates.  During training sessions, all Poll Workers will receive training that is specific to the upcoming election and the training cannot be carried over from election to election.   The Board of Elections in the county where you will serve, will notify you in advance of training sessions for each upcoming primary and general election being held. The trainings are generally two hours or less and there may be more than one (but usually no more than two per election). Everyone who is present for training will be paid for attending the sessions.  


Compensation

Precinct officials are paid for their time spent in training and for election day. The amount varies by county but must be at least the state minimum wage.  Training compensation can vary from $10 - $25 and election day compensation can range from $100 to $175.