Paid Poll Working Positions Need To Be Filled This November

Photo+courtesy+Unsplash

Photo courtesy Unsplash

Christian Grosso

The 2022 Midterm Elections are just seven weeks away, and Bucks County is in need of people to work at the polls. On Nov. 8th, voters will be headed to the polls in what is expected to be a very contentious midterm election, especially in Pennsylvania, where voters will be picking a new governor and U.S. Senator, in addition to congressional, state, school board officials, and other local representatives.

Even though mail-in voting is now an option in Pennsylvania for all voters, many still choose to vote in person at their local polling place. According to Help America Vote, “Poll workers are critical to the success of an election” all while getting paid! But many of our veteran poll workers are starting to age away.

Pew Research says that “58 percent of poll workers in the U.S were ages 61 and older”, so younger people are in need to replace a rapidly outgoing generation of poll workers.

Kelly Gale has been the Assistant Director on the Board of Elections in Bucks County for the past four years. She explained that in order to be a poll worker, you must be 17 years of age or older and be a resident of Bucks County. There are different positions people volunteer at polling places. According to Gail,

  • “The Judge of Elections is the overseer of the polling place. They make sure everything is up and running for a smooth flow of voters. They are responsible for maintaining the election supplies and returning them to the county at the end of the day.’’
  • “The Majority/Minority Inspectors and Clerks are typically stationed at the table helping the voters check in with the poll book and distributing the paper ballots.’’
  • “The Machine Inspectors help to facilitate the flow of voters through the polling place, guiding voters from the check in station to the voting area, and then to the scanner to cast their ballot.’’

When it comes to salaries, she tells us that “Judge of Elections are paid $200.00. All other full day positions are paid $195.00, and half days are paid $97.50.’’

A typical election day starts with the setup of polling machines and books. Gail says that there are three shifts offered. “Full days are from 6:30 a.m. to roughly 9:30 p.m. half day mornings are from 6:30AM-2:00 p.m. and half day afternoons are from 2:00 P.M to 9:30 p.m.’’

A typical election day starts with the poll workers setting up the voting equipment and tables. The polls will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. and workers are expected to remain at the polling place for their work time, but are given a two-hour break.

Throughout the day, it is important for all poll workers to keep the flow of voters going, be as helpful to voters as legally possible, and to report any abnormalities to the Judge of Elections. Also, poll workers must remain non-partisan, not discussing or promoting any political stance while working. Once the polls close, full time and afternoon workers must close the machines, take down the tables, and tally up the votes on official documents.

Typically, this will take about an hour and a half, but may take longer depending on how busy the polling place is.

Before you can become a poll worker though, you need to attend an election training cycle for every election day, even if you are a returning poll worker.

This election, Bucks County will be switching to an electronic sign in system on I-Pads in place of the current registration books, so it will be especially important to pay attention to the training session. According to a letter sent by the county, “In person training will be held at Richard E. Strayer Middle School in Quakertown on Oct. 1st, Harry S. Truman High School in Levittown on Oct. 15th, Maple Point Middle School in Langhorne on Oct. 22nd, and Central Bucks High School West in Doylestown on Oct. 29th. Virtual training is also available.

’’ There isn’t an estimate yet of how many positions are left to fill for the midterms, but in an earlier interview with Gail by the Bucks County Courier Times in April, she said, “that there was a shortage of about 60 poll workers for the primaries this past May, primarily at polling places in Bristol, Falls, Middletown and Warminster Townships.” Gail says that “There is no deadline to register. Of course, the sooner the better.’’

Becoming a poll worker isn’t just about getting paid, it has other perks, such as getting to know your fellow poll workers, and giving your time back to the community. When you register to be a poll worker, you become a key aspect of keeping democracy afloat in America.

 

To become a poll worker in Bucks County, please visit www.buckscounty.gov/1257/Poll-Workers, or call the Bucks County Board of Elections at (215) 348-6154.