Many local election officials struggle to recruit the hundreds of thousands of poll workers needed nationwide on Election Day. WorkElections.org offers a solution to one of the main challenges to poll worker recruitment: a lack of accessible, centralized information for the general public.
This project seeks to improve election administration by broadening and diversifying the country’s pool of poll workers. In doing so, we hope to strengthen election infrastructure across the U.S. to keep pace with emerging technologies and the changing needs of an increasingly diverse electorate. Recruiting younger Americans as poll workers can help ensure that the adoption of new technology does not undermine the efficiency of casting a ballot and that there is a larger pool of bilingual poll workers to provide voters who are limited-English speakers with the assistance they need.
This portal collects poll worker requirements and applications for nearly every state (except Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington – states that conduct all-mail balloting and therefore don’t require many poll workers).
For jurisdictions that lack their own online application, the site directs prospective applicants to statewide applications, if available. If no application exists, the site enables visitors to submit an email to their local jurisdiction, indicating an interest in serving. Some small and sparsely-populated jurisdictions have little to no information available online. In those jurisdictions, potential applicants are instructed to contact the local election officials directly.
WorkElections was developed in 2016 by Fair Elections Center, a national, nonpartisan, non-profit voting rights and election reform organization. In 2020, WorkElections’ data and API were used by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to help power its poll worker recruitment portal and by Power the Polls in its nationwide effort to expand poll worker recruitment in the face of the pandemic.
The project was initially supported with prototype funding from the Knight Foundation’s Knight Prototype Fund. Full implementation of the current site is largely supported by the Democracy Fund and the Center’s own general operating funds.