Poll workers are integral to making our elections successful. January 25 is a day to make sure that success is continued! Today is National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, a national day of action established by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to encourage people to help America vote by signing up to be a poll worker. By encouraging more people to become poll workers in their communities, National Poll Worker Recruitment Day addresses the critical shortage of poll workers, strengthening our democracy, inspiring greater civic engagement, volunteerism, and helping America vote. Stafford County is looking for more poll workers to help make sure our elections are safe, secure and accessible.
“With redistricting, Stafford County could have as many as 39 precincts, each requiring seven to 15 poll workers. We need at least 50-100 more people,” said General Registrar, Anna Hash. “Our poll worker population is typically over age 61, making them more susceptible to COVID. We have a critical need for more people willing to help.”
Poll workers are the face of the Stafford General Registrar during voting. Starting early in the morning, they set up and prepare the polling location, welcome voters, verify voter registrations and issue ballots. Poll workers also help ensure voters understand the voting process by demonstrating how to use voting equipment and explaining voting procedures. At the end of the day, they have closing duties that end around 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Poll workers must be United States citizens and registered to vote in Virginia. A stipend of $140 is paid to election officials who take the special two-hour mandatory training and work on election day. The training is given two weeks before an election and is given before every election. Generally, poll workers work the November elections and any primary elections, which are held in June.
There are provisions in the Election Code that say employers must give employees time off to work as poll workers. They are not allowed to require employees to use sick leave or vacation to work as a poll worker. Stafford’s General Registrar’s Office will provide documentation for poll workers to give their employer.
Those who are interested may find out more by visiting www.staffordcountyva.gov/electionofficers.