The United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has designated August 16 as Help America Vote Day. It is the perfect day to repeat Stafford’s appeal for poll workers earlier this year. Stafford, as well as the rest of the country, is facing a critical shortage of poll workers. Most poll workers are age 60 plus and the fear of COVID has reduced their ranks. Stafford is asking for citizens to consider being trained as a poll worker to ensure our elections are safe, secure and accessible.
“Redistricting increased our number of precincts making us need at least 50-100 more people,” said General Registrar, Anna Hash. “Past generations did not hesitate to answer the call to serve. Now it is time for new generations to do the same.”
Poll workers are the face of the Stafford General Registrar during voting. Starting early in the morning, they set up and prepare the polling location, welcome voters, verify voter registrations and issue ballots. Poll workers also help ensure voters understand the voting process by demonstrating how to use voting equipment and explaining voting procedures. At the end of the day, they have closing duties that end around 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Poll workers must be United States citizens and registered to vote in Virginia. A stipend of $140 is paid to election officials who take the special two-hour mandatory training and work on election day. The training is typically given two weeks before an election and is required for every election. Generally, poll workers work the November elections and any primary elections, which are held in June.
There are provisions in the Election Code that say employers cannot require employees to use sick leave or vacation time to work as a poll worker. Stafford’s General Registrar’s Office will provide documentation for poll workers to give their employer upon request.
Those who are interested may find out more by visiting www.staffordcountyva.gov/electionofficers.