Volunteer Corner - Poll Workers Receive Benefits
Last updated 8/21/2014 at 9:21pm | View PDF
There are many reasons people volunteer. They want to help in their community. They want to learn about something different. It is a chance to socialize and meet new people. Or, they just may have spare time on their hands.
Offering to help at the election polls has all of these and one more bonus - it pays.
“There is always a need for poll workers,” said Kari McCully, department of elections supervisor for Tulare County.
The job includes a small amount of lifting and moving things, but it is a group activity, she explained. The day is long, about 15 hours, but there are rewards.
“As a poll worker, they can see all the checks and balances that we use to make sure the ballots are counted correctly,” McCully said, adding that anyone can observe and learn the process without working as a poll worker.
Those interested should complete an application to become a poll worker, which can be found on the website for each county. Poll workers must live in the county where they wish to work.
“There is a need for bilingual workers,” said Janis Young, department specialist in Kings County, who coordinates poll workers and polling locations.
Before each election, Young contacts previous workers to see if they are available. When there is a vacancy, she calls on those who have filled out an application. But even if not contracted to work at the onset, applicants can be called, even on the eve or the morning of Election Day.
“Between the times, life happens,” Young said, explaining that something can come up, someone may no longer be available, or illness may prevent them from being able to work.
Kings County poll workers take a training class approximately one week before Election Day. The class lasts a few hours, and teaches all aspects of the workings of the polls.
Coordinators try to keep workers as close to home as possible, but the further someone can travel, the more helpful it is to the community.
Tuesday, June 3, is a statewide Election Day, at which time some 800 to 1,000 poll workers are needed in Tulare County alone.
Poll workers start their day at 6 a.m. and finish somewhere around 8:30 or 9 p.m. They are paid a stipend of around $100 for the day, and receive payment approximately five weeks after the election.
For more information in Kings County, 559- 582-3211 ext. 4401.
For more information in Tulare County, 559-624-7301.