How to Become an Election Official

Democratic elections are at the core of American democracy. Accordingly, states must ensure all elections conducted are free and fair in every stage of the election process.

Becoming an election official is one of the ways you can participate in an election. Are you interested in fulfilling your civic duty and contributing to the democratic process by becoming an election official?

This article will give you a background on the general procedures on how you can become an election official.

Who Can Be an Election Official?

States have their own selection criteria for who is eligible to become an election official. Some of the most common requirements shared among states include the following:

  • You must be a U.S citizen
  • You must be 18 years old or more
  • You must be a resident in that state
  • You must register to vote in that state
  • You must take the required training assigned by the state

What Will I Do as an Election Official?

In simple words, an election official is responsible for ensuring that voting is conducted fairly. This can vary from administering election laws to getting to the polls early and arranging the polling station with required materials.

The following are some of the typical responsibilities of an election official:

  • Provide assistance to voters
  • Complete necessary paperwork
  • Close the polling station after everyone has voted
  • Ensure the election is handled in an orderly and lawful manner

Will I Be Compensated for My Services?

Most states offer a small stipend for the services election officials provide. However, the procedure you need to follow to get compensated may vary from city to city.

The city of Madison, for example, requires you to fill out a W-4 before Election Day before it issues you a paycheck. You should check out your state's specific compensation procedures to ensure you get paid.

Still Need More Information?

The state-by-state compendium prepared by the U.S Election Assistance Commission is a useful resource to learn about the detailed requirements to become an election official in your state.

Know Your Right to Serve as an Election Official

Serving as an election official is among your rights and responsibilities as an American citizen. Have you been told you can't serve as an election official, or do you want to learn more about the process?

If so, you should speak with an election law attorney to ensure your rights are protected.