FAQs- Poll Workers and Poll Observers

What is the difference between a Poll Worker and a Precinct Election Official?

There is no difference. Precinct Election Official is the new term for Poll Worker and these titles can be used interchangeably.

What are Presiding and Deputy Judges?

These are the 2 head poll workers of the precinct, one Republican and one Democrat. The Presiding Judge will be from the political party (R or D) based on way that precinct voted in the last gubernatorial election. The Deputy Judge will be from the opposite party of the Presiding Judge.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Although these 2 persons are the leaders of the precinct, any poll worker can question or challenge the actions of any other poll worker in that precinct, including the Presiding and Deputy Judges.

If I take your training on line do I need to take the BOE training?

Yes, to be a poll worker you must take the BOE training from the county in which you reside and will work. Our training supplements the BOE’s training and emphasizes areas which are problematic or those that are more confusing to the poll worker. We do not cover areas like setting up the election equipment. This will be taught by the BOEs.

Do I need to stay in my home precinct or can I go to another one?

You must work as a poll worker in the county where you reside BUT you can request to be placed in any precinct; your own or one that is more challenging.

Do I get paid to be a poll worker?

Yes, you will be paid for the day and the set-up meeting the night before as well as the BOE training. In Hamilton County, for example, the pay is about $160.00.

Can I sign up to be a presiding judge or deputy judge if I haven’t worked the polls yet?

Absolutely, once you have been fully trained first by us and then by the BOE you can and should take one of the leadership roles at the precinct. You can make the most impact by working in one of these roles.

What is the time commitment for being a poll worker?

Typically the BOE training is 3-4 hours, depending on the county and takes place during the month prior to the election.

The night before the election, the polling place set up set-up takes about 1.5 hours and the day of the election usually starts at 6:00AM with the polls opening at 6:30 and closes at 7:30. Usually you are home by 8:30 – 9:00PM but this depends on the final ballot counting and closing of the polls. This could take longer for the presidential election due to the volume of voters.

Do I have to work the whole day or part of the day?

You must work the entire day. There is no sharing of poll worker jobs.

What do I do if there is something scary going on in my precinct?

If there is any danger or threat to your person, you should call 911 right away. If there is a question or confrontation from other poll workers or voters, you call the BOE and they will send a representative to your precinct. You will also document this episode on the incident log.

What if I am told by my BOE that they do not need poll workers?

If that happens tell them that you understood from the Secretary of State’s office that all counties will need more poll workers. The SOS is working with Ohio VIP to secure additional PW’s in every Ohio county for the November 2012 election. They have also printed PW application cards to hire poll workers statewide to ensure this.

Why do we need more poll workers?

There is always a need for additional poll workers as people’s lives continually change. People move out of state, have health issues etc. Many people currently working the polls have aged to the point that health issues, like hearing and sight, have become a factor in performing their duties. Up to this point, the BOEs have struggled to fill poll worker positions, Democrat and Republican. This new pool of poll workers will give the BOEs the chance to retire workers that no longer can perform effectively.

What is the difference between a poll worker and a poll observer?

A poll worker actually works in the polls on Election Day and can change the process when there is unlawful activity. A poll observer is basically a fly on the wall writing irregularities in a memo book. The observer collects this data to be used in the case of a contested election or proof of actual fraud after the election. In order of importance the poll worker is number one since they are more effective in stopping a problem right there and changing it for the whole day.

When would it be important to use observers?

Poll Observers (PO’s) can be used to corroborate the poll workers testimony of the situation. PO’s are very effective in watching and looking and therefore voters know they are basically being recorded. Observers can be used for both early voting and on Election Day.