Become a Pollworker

Become a Pollworker

Become a Pollworker

WHO WE ARE

According to a 2005 U.S. Election Assistance Commission report, 5.8 percent of polling places and 4 percent of precincts in the 2004 presidential election did not have the minimum number of required poll workers.

In 2009, The Annette Strauss Institute received a grant from the Help America Vote College PollWorker program (HAVCP) to enact a program attracting college students to poll working.

The Strauss Institute created a group called the Student PollWorker Association (SPA) to organize these students on each Election Day.

In coordination with the Travis County Clerk Elections Division, SPA recruits college students from Travis County colleges and universities to participate in a wonderful opportunity.

In Travis County, the average age of an election worker is 72. SPA leverages the technology skills of a tech-savvy generation, and recruits the next generation of PollWorkers.

By working on Election Day, college students jump head first into the electoral system. Most importantly, students engage in a new kind of civic participation-a kind that puts them at the heart of the process.
 


WHAT IS A POLLWORKER?

A PollWorker (sometimes called an Election Worker) is an individual hired by Travis County to work on Election Day.

There are many jobs that an individual can perform on Election Day.  SPA recruits college students to work 4 particular jobs. The availability for each position changes based on the election, so contact the County to see what options you have.  See below for descriptions of each PollWorking job.
 

Receiving Substation Assistant (RSS)

Receiving Substation Assistants help precinct judges check in their equipment and turn in their paperwork after polling places have closed.

Registration Requirement: none

Training: none

Pay: $8-10 per hour

Shift: 6pm to 10pm at various locations


Laptop Operator

A laptop operator checks in voters at their precinct. 

Registration Requirement:    MUST be registered to vote in Travis County

Training: 4 hours paid training before Election Day

Pay: $8-10 per hour

Shift: 7am to 7pm at your precinct (*You can split a shift into 2 parts with someone who is also registered at that precinct.)


Bilingual Clerk

A bilingual clerk must be fluent in both English and Spanish.  He or she will aid voters who need help with the voting process.

Registration Requirement:    MUST be registered to vote in Travis County

Training: 2 hours online paid training

Pay: $8-10 per hour

Shift: 7am to 7pm at your precinct (*You can split a shift into 2 parts with someone who is also registered at that precinct.)


Judge/Alternate Judge

A Judge or Alternate Judge coordinates a precinct's activities with the County.

Registration Requirement:   MUST be registered to vote in Travis County

Training: 4 hours paid training before Election Day

Pay: $10-12 per hour

Shift: 7am to 7pm at your precinct


FAQs

What is SPA?
The Student PollWorker Association is a group that coordinates election workers for Travis County. We search out college and university students in the Austin area who want to work on Election Day. For more information, please visit About SPA.

Do I have to attend a certain school to participate with SPA?
SPA actively coordinates with the University of Texas at Austin, St. Edwards University, Austin Community College, Concordia University, and Hutson-Tillotson.

Where do I go to register to vote in Travis County?
You can download a registration form and mail it in, or go pick one up at one of several locations.

What if I don't know if I am registered in Travis County?
Click here to find out.

What is a precinct?
A precinct is the area in which your neighborhood is divided up for voting purposes. Each address has a certain precinct. Click here to look up your precinct.

What should I do if I am registered in a different county?
If you want to change your registration to Travis County, all you have to do is register here. By doing so, your registration from the other county becomes void.

Where is training for laptop operators held?
The 4-hour training is held at the Travis County Elections Office headquarters. The address is:

5501 Airport Boulevard
Austin, TX 78751-1410

How do I access the online training for bilingual clerks?
The website and login information will be given to you upon your contacting SPA and voicing interest in this position.

How much will I get paid?
The pay rate depends on the election. While the County "holds" most elections, primaries are "held" by the parties. Both of these sources pay differently, but often either $8.50 or $10 an hour. Receiving Substation Assistants will always be paid $10 per hour. The pay for Laptop Operators and Bilingual Clerks fluctuates based on the election. Receiving Substation Assistants are paid for the hours they work on Election Day, while Laptop Operators and Bilingual Clerks are paid both for the hours they work on Election Day and for their required training.

When will I get paid?
Checks are issues from Travis County's Elections Office approximately 3-4 weeks after the election. When filling out your timesheet, make sure the address you list is the address you would like your check mailed to.

If I'm part of a student organization, how do I get my group involved?
Simple! Contact poll.worker@mail.utexas.edu and let us know how many people are in your group. The easiest "job" for groups to perform is the Receiving Substation Assistant position because your location placement is not based on your address. Depending on when you contact us, and how large your group is, we may need to split you up into more than one location.

Do I need to bring anything with me on Election Day?
Bring your driver's license or any state-issued form of identification. Dress casually and comfortably. Bring water or snacks if you anticipate getting hungry or thirsty. You may bring something to keep you busy, although down-time completely depends on how busy your location is.

What is the time commitment?
It depends. A Receiving Substation Assistant is committed to 4 hours of work. Laptop Operators are committed to a 4-hour training that takes place before Election Day at the County's headquarters. Bilingual Clerks are committed to a 2-hour online training that takes place before Election Day that can be completed on any computer with internet access. Both Laptop Operators and Bilingual Clerks are committed to a 12 hour shift from 7am-7pm. This shift can be split into two (7am-1pm and 1pm-7pm), but only with between 2 individuals who are registered in the same precinct.

Can this go on my resume?
Absolutely! Please feel free to list this under your employment.

Can I count this as service hours?
It depends on the organization for which you need the hours. Remember, you do get paid, so it's not technically volunteering.