My Experience as a Presidential Poll Worker

Hailey Karas, Guest Editorial

Hailey Karas

2020 has been full of chaos, including a very tense presidential election. In a more “normal” election year, the majority of poll workers are retirees who have nothing but time. However, this year was not a normal year. Many of the typical volunteers made the decision to stay home in order to decrease the risk of catching Covid, which led to a lack of volunteers actually working the polls. During this election cycle, I felt an immense feeling of helplessness because the future of our country was being decided, and I didn’t have the right to vote yet. Due to this, I was looking for more ways to get involved, so I found an organization called Poll Hero. Their goal was to make it easier for youth to get involved. I filled out my information on their website and was connected with the Clerk and Recorder for my county’s polling system. 

 

The actual work was relatively easy. I attended a training the week before my location opened to become a computer judge. On a very basic level, my job was to interact with every single voter that came into our polling location. I printed ballots, registered new voters, and got people ready to vote on the machines. I worked four days at around 12 hour shifts per day. That schedule isn’t as bad as it seems. The first few days there was plenty of down time where I was able to read a book and even bake cookies in the back room. I also made new connections with the other volunteers that were working with me. 

 

All in all, I found this experience very fulfilling. I learned more about the voting system, as well as how many fail-safes are in place to prevent fraud and illegitimate votes. It also helped ease some of the feelings of distress that I was experiencing due to the election. I encourage everyone to volunteer for causes such as this one, and there is an extra incentive for those on the fence. Everyone that works the polls gets paid between thirteen and fifteen dollars an hour, so by the end of the election I had made around 600 dollars. 

 

Despite the fact that the 2020 Presidential Election has already passed, there will continue to be opportunities like this in future elections. Poll workers are needed at every election, however small the job may be. In the end, you will find this experience just as amazing as I did.

2020 has been full of chaos, including a very tense presidential election. In a more “normal” election year, the majority of poll workers are retirees who have nothing but time. However, this year was not a normal year. Many of the typical volunteers made the decision to stay home in order to decrease the risk of catching Covid, which led to a lack of volunteers actually working the polls. During this election cycle, I felt an immense feeling of helplessness because the future of our country was being decided, and I didn’t have the right to vote yet. Due to this, I was looking for more ways to get involved, so I found an organization called Poll Hero. Their goal was to make it easier for youth to get involved. I filled out my information on their website and was connected with the Clerk and Recorder for my county’s polling system. 

 

The actual work was relatively easy. I attended a training the week before my location opened to become a computer judge. On a very basic level, my job was to interact with every single voter that came into our polling location. I printed ballots, registered new voters, and got people ready to vote on the machines. I worked four days at around 12 hour shifts per day. That schedule isn’t as bad as it seems. The first few days there was plenty of down time where I was able to read a book and even bake cookies in the back room. I also made new connections with the other volunteers that were working with me. 

 

All in all, I found this experience very fulfilling. I learned more about the voting system, as well as how many fail-safes are in place to prevent fraud and illegitimate votes. It also helped ease some of the feelings of distress that I was experiencing due to the election. I encourage everyone to volunteer for causes such as this one, and there is an extra incentive for those on the fence. Everyone that works the polls gets paid between thirteen and fifteen dollars an hour, so by the end of the election I had made around 600 dollars. 

 

Despite the fact that the 2020 Presidential Election has already passed, there will continue to be opportunities like this in future elections. Poll workers are needed at every election, however small the job may be. In the end, you will find this experience just as amazing as I did.