Revised August 2014. Poll Workers are one of our unsung “Hero” groups. These citizens are willing to be the gatekeepers of our freedom to vote at the poll sites. They put in long hours with very little pay. These dedicated citizens work hard to see that registered Voters may cast their ballots at their poll sites.
Who can be a poll worker?
Must be registered to vote in Mohave County
May be over 16 years of age with written permission from guardian if would otherwise qualify to register to vote
Be able to work long hours, possibly from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Election Day
Submit name & phone number to Mohave County Elections Department
Attend a mandatory 4 hour training class prior to the election
What is the process to select a poll worker?
Sort the names according to home precincts
Begin phone calls to confirm potential poll worker will be available for next training & election dates
Balance each poll board with at least 2 Democrats & 2 Republicans (representing the two major political parties in Arizona at this time)
Check for bilingual poll workers in both Spanish (local dialect) & Yuman tribal language (required by the U.S. Department of Justice)
With at least a 33% turnover of poll workers for each election, it is a constant job of replacing workers that either change their mind, find another job, or become ill
What does a Poll Board consist of?
One Inspector (the “boss”, a veteran poll worker willing to take on the extra duties)
Two Judges (one from each major political party)
One Marshal (enforces the laws, especially those concerning the 75 foot limit for electioneering—and calls the police if needed)
Two ID Clerks (checks each Voter’s ID to confirm they are who they say they are)
One Poll List Clerk (records the name of each Voter that votes at their poll site & accounts for every ballot)
One Special Situations Clerk (assists Voter needing to change their name or address, find Voter’s correct polling place, or perform other jobs in protecting a Voter’s ballot through the provisional ballot process)
What does the mandatory 4 hour training class cover?
There are strict guidelines established by the AZ Secretary of State listed in their Procedures Manual that must be presented to each class within 45 days of any election:
1. Delivery of ballots/supplies to precinct
2. Election board officer duties
3. Election board political party representation
4. Pre-election responsibilities
a. pre-election set-up meeting
b. poll site building access
c. time & location of meeting
d. checking supplies
e. equipment & furniture arrangement
f. voting equipment check
g. official ballot count/precinct ballot accounting
h. early voters—must be marked in Roster & Registers as they have been sent a
ballot & must receive a provisional ballot if they come back to a poll site
5. Election day
a. opening polls (synchronize watches/cell phones)
b. hours the polls are open (6 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
c. working hours (5 a.m. to 9 p.m.—can’t leave the poll site once sworn in)
d. 75-foot limitation, signs, (electioneering limits)
e. sharing polling places (tribal elections or other precincts)
f. procedures for Proof of Identification and Provisional Ballot Processing at the Polls
g. voting equipment (set up, zero’s reports, operating during day, & closing)
h. accessible voting equipment (encoding cards, assisting Voters, monitoring)
i. troubleshooting (what all can go wrong!)
j. Voter registration (Voter assistance)
k. who may vote (Presidential Preference Election, primary, etc.)
l. standard voting procedures (ID matches register)
m. Recorder’s Certificates (if any issued by Voter Registration)
n. spoiled ballot procedures
o. procedure for early ballot drop off
p. political observers (party representatives)
q. challenges (what to do should someone challenge a Voter’s right to vote)
r. closing the polls (transmitting results, deliver of ballots, integrity maintained)
s. Ballot Report & Certificate of Performance, Signature Roster signed by Board (all
t. Poll List Book completed & signed by Board (legal document)
u. official/unofficial envelope contents that must be returned Election night
6. Customer Service
a. assisting the voter
b. assisting the voter with disabilities – also setting up the poll site ADA compliant
c. assisting the voter with bilingual needs/accessibility of interpreters
7. Compensation of election workers (Mohave County poll workers are paid a total of
$120 for the Inspector; $105 for Board members)
8. New Laws – any U.S. Federal or Arizona State Laws that regulate the elections and
the duties of poll workers that have changed since the last training session must
be covered in the training. (There is a 700+ page Arizona Revised Statutes Book
placed in the supply box for each poll site!!)
9. All poll workers receive a Training Manual that will help them through Election Day
. . . . after 4 hours the new poll workers realize that they don’t just get to sit all day, eating cookies & doughnuts, while handing out ballots! These training classes are held in Bullhead City, Kingman, Lake Havasu City, Colorado City and in Beaver Dam. In the large elections, there will be 600 – 650 poll workers required to fill all 73 polling locations.
What happens at the set-up meeting the day before the election?
Inspector & Board members meet at poll site
Set up tables & lay out supplies
Enter all “Early Voters” into the Roster & Registers (these are voters who were mailed an early ballot by Voter Registration, should they come to the poll site they must vote a provisional ballot as the poll workers have no way of knowing whether the Voter mailed in the first ballot or not—this process prevents a voter from voting twice in the same election)
Review the duties of each poll worker
Setup may take 2 hours and is mandatory or $10 will be deducted from pay check
What happens on Election Day?
Poll workers arrive at 5 a.m. (often in the dark!)
Inspector reads the Oath & swears in the Board (once sworn in they can’t leave the poll site—unless taken out on a stretcher!)
Check all seals on equipment & ballots to make sure no one has tampered with their equipment & supplies
Finish setting up the voting equipment & confirm that no ballots have been cast prior to the opening of their poll site
ü Outside signs are set up, especially the 75’ limit signs (creating an electioneering neutral zone around the front entrance) & the handicap parking signs
ü Promptly at 6 a.m. the polls are opened by the Marshal who goes outside & hollers, “Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! The polls are now open!” (It is the law & it dates way back in our country’s early History to the time of the town crier!)
Each Board member, but especially the two Judges, take seriously their job of protecting the integrity of their poll site by insuring that all AZ election laws are followed
ID Clerk checks to see that every Voter presents acceptable ID & that it matches the information in the Voter Registration register (this insures that the Voter is who they say they are)
If the ID matches, the Voter moves on to the Signature Roster Judge to sign the Roster, then to the Ballot Judge to receive their ballot
If the ID does not match or the Voter is marked an “Early Voter, the Voter is sent to the Special Situations Clerk so that the Voter’s information may be updated or corrected for Voter Registration (Voter Registration will confirm the Voter & their information the next day), or to protect the process from the possibility of an “Early Voter” voting twice in one election. The provisional ballot enables the Voter to still vote while changing their information & protecting the voting process.)
ü If a Voter has no ID, they have two options: 1. Go get acceptable ID 2. Vote a “Conditional Provisional” ballot, & take their ID to a verification location later in order to have their ballot processed (otherwise, their ballot will not be processed or counted)
The Poll List Clerk records the name of every Voter that casts a ballot, & records any spoiled ballots so they can account for every Voter & every ballot at the end of the day
By being well informed the Board is able to help their fellow citizens in the voting process & make it possible for their fellow neighbors to come to their poll site & cast their vote
One hour before the polls close the Marshall proceeds to warn that the polls will close at 7 p.m. (The Marshall will shout his warning outside at 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 6:59 p.m., then stand behind the last person in line at 7 p.m. while shouting “Hear ye, Hear ye, Hear ye, the polls are now closed!”)
All Board members join together to begin the job of securing the ballots & closing down the voting machines.
What happens after the polls are closed?
Voting equipment is closed, transmitted, & prepared for transporting
Complete & sign the Poll List Book which accounts for every Voter & every ballot issued
Sign the Signature Roster, confirming that all Voters that voted were ID’d properly
Ballot Report & Certificate of Performance is completed and signed (an accounting of actual numbers of voters that voted on the optical scan equipment, touch screen unit,or by provisional ballot; plus an accounting of all paper ballots issued to that poll site & what happened to each one—voted, spoiled, & unused)
Payroll Voucher filled out
Pack & secure all official materials to be returned to the Election Receiving Center that night (all voted ballots, signed legal documents, voting units with memory cards, & the sealed container of provisional & early ballots received during the day)
Store other materials away in a security cage & return poll site to normal
ü Inspector dismisses the Board
ü Inspector & a Judge of the opposite political party then return the official materials to the Election Receiving Center (a balance of political representation is maintained at every stage of the voting process which insures the integrity of each poll site & thus of the whole Mohave County election process)
After this Election Day, the new Poll Workers are no longer “new”. They are veterans. They will tell their friends of the interesting and challenging job they had while protecting the “freedom to vote” of their fellow neighbors. They will coach the next set of newbies, and help them with their questions. It isn’t the pay that keeps them coming back—rather it is the feeling of pride and of being a part of something very special and very “American”.
Next time you walk into your polling place, give your Poll Workers a big “Thank you”! And if you would like to really educate yourself on your electoral process, forget the cookies and doughnuts, just give the Mohave County Elections Department a call and ask to become a Poll Worker!
I hope this has been informative and helps build a better understanding of our election process and the security and precautions that are in affect here in Mohave County!