Best practices

Best practices


Recruiting Election Workers

Recruiting election workers for the 21st century requires new approaches that take advantage of innovative technology as well as make use of time-tested methods to reach all segments of our diverse population.

More is required than just adequate staffing at the polling place. Today’s election work force participates not only in Election Day precincts, but vote centers, early voting, absentee and early tallying boards, recount boards, and  post- election audits. The skill sets needed to carry out these activities with confidence and transparency requires election administrators to use every tool at their disposal in recruiting these essential workers.

Targeting the General Public

Recruiting capable election workers requires crafting a strong message about your specific needs and one that reaches all segments of society.

  • Develop a “marketing” strategy that includes the reasons election workers volunteer, such as civic duty, community service, social interaction, high school or college credit, family tradition, as well as earning extra money
  • To recruit election workers with tech-savvy skills, inform the public of your specific needs with a high-visibility notice on your website
  • Develop specialized recruiting for high school and college students, corporations and businesses, civic groups, government workers, and existing election workers
  • Be clear about what is involved in being an election worker
  • Create flyers that target multiple groups, including civic, business, and student associations
  • Use well-designed brochures with a catchy slogan, and place in high-traffic locations
  • Broadly distribute recruitment postcards and letters and have sign-up sheets at polling places
  • Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., are all good ways to communicate with the public
  • Consider advertising on Google, Yahoo, or Craigslist
  • You can also get local media to run public service announcements
  • Be prepared to respond and have a follow-up plan when potential workers call or email
  • Make sure to track the results of your recruiting efforts to guide you in the future


You can target specific groups for the type of workers you need Presentations to organizations also serve voter education goals.


  • In-person recruitment efforts can be time consuming
  • Social media and email communications require dedicated staffing.


  • Contact past election workers
  • Be specific in outlining your needs
  • Compare notes with other election officials

Additional Resources

Brief Recruitment Messages

Recruitment Messages With Job Requirements and Duties

Brief Recruitment Messages

Recruitment Messages with Job Requirements and Duties

Appealing to High School and College Students

High school and college students bring dynamic energy and essential skills to the polling place. Creating relationships with your local schools will help bring this energy into your work force and also engage students in the election process

  • Start early and take advantage of campus events so you can coordinate with professors and teachers and willing school contacts
  • Partner annually with schools and professors to help engage students in community service and possible course credit
  • Request a campus-wide email, Web page, or social media message to recruit tech-savvy, high-energy, and bilingual students
  • Provide information on what statutes permit student election workers to do and if they can be paid
  • Consider providing training on campus or developing an app for mobile devices
  • Google AdWords, Craigslist, and Facebook can be good ways to connect with potential election workers
  • Mock or student body elections can spur interest and generate volunteers
  • Contact the student disability office to help recruit students with disabilities


  • Students who commit to teachers are likely to show up
  • Students are generally more comfortable with the latest technology
  • Studies have shown that students’ energy and enthusiasm are well received by older election workers
  • Recruiting students is another opportunity to identify both bilingual and disabled election workers
  • Exposure to the voting process stimulates interest in elections and can help create lifelong voters


  • Be prepared to spend time in your recruitment efforts
  • Some states require additional paperwork to use students
  • Transportation to and from the polls may be an issue
  • Expect and plan for high turnover from semester to semester

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poll workers