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Election Worker Best Practices

Friday, March 31, 2023


Recruiting election workers for the 21st century requires new approaches that take advantage of innovative tools as well as making use of time-tested methods in order 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. Below you will find information on EAC's National Competition, EAC Resources and examples from State and Local jurisdictions for training and retaining election workers.

Election Workers Successful Practices

National Competition Winners Announced

Today the EAC announced five winners of its best practices competition for recruiting, training, and retaining election workers. These programs were selected by a panel of election officials based on criteria including;

  • Innovation and/or uniqueness;
  • Sustainability and effectiveness;
  • Offers a "big bang for the buck"; and
  • Readily duplicated or increased in scale 

The winners are: 

Image Brevard County Florida Supervisor of Elections Logo

Brevard County, Florida - Practice makes Perfect Lab

The Practice Makes Perfect Lab was first implemented during the 2012 primary election. Since 2012, over 1,700 Poll Workers have voluntarily invested their personal time to participate in the Lab review sessions. The Practice Makes Perfect Lab provides the opportunity for election workers to review procedures and receive hands on training in a self-paced learning environment. The Lab does not take the place of mandatory training, but serves to reinforce key Election Day practices.

The Lab allows election workers to practice set up and closing procedures on voting equipment and test their knowledge of common issues they might encounter on Election Day. 

Image of Franklin County Board of Elections Logo

Franklin County, Ohio - Champions of Democracy

Franklin County's "Champions of Democracy" program is a campaign to recruit employees from local businesses to serve as poll workers. During this campaign the board of elections; 

  • Dedicates a day to visit the local business to promote the program and recruit poll workers;

  • Provides all eligible employees an opportunity to register to vote; and

  • Brings voting machines to run a mock election.

Additionally the county recognized the importance of providing poll workers with the opportunity for a final review of election procedures and materials just prior to them serving on Election Day. As a result they developed "Practice Makes Perfect," an open house review staffed by poll worker trainers, which is held on the weekend (Friday evening through Sunday) preceding every election.

Image Hamiliton County Ohio Board of Elections Logo

Hamilton County, Ohio - Recruiting, Training, and Retaining Precinct Election Officials

The county uses a Youth at the Booth (YATB) program to recruit high school students to work the polls. YATB participants played an important role in the successful transition to recently deployed electronic poll books, as they often have a greater familiarity and understanding of technology. By pairing technological savvy high school students with longer serving precinct election officials, who have a better understanding of election processes, the county can provide the perfect combination of technological comfort and experience at the polls.

Additionally the county instituted a new program to engage the business community and government agencies in the election process called "Partners in Democracy." Participating businesses and agencies are encouraged to give their employees a "day off for democracy" to allow them to serve as election workers.

This fall the county is also implementing an own online training course for precinct election officials who feel the need for additional training.

To help retain precinct election officials , the county administers a post-election survey of these officials seeking input on ways the election process could be better run. Some of the best ideas to improve processes have come through these surveys.

Montgomery County MD Final

Montgomery County, Maryland - Precinct Performance Report

Montgomery County, Maryland has created a formalized review procedure called the Precinct Performance Report, which evaluates and develops election judge performance and ultimately improves the voters' experience at the polls. This assessment provides critical data documenting and visualizing which precincts need attention and those areas where multiple precincts are underperforming, and to improve the county's training program.

The report (see sample) charts each precinct's success or failure at meeting established performance standards and goals. Since the data is precinct-specific, it clearly distinguishes between issues that face all or most precincts and those issues that are specific to one or a few precincts.

The report is based on reports and logs related to the voting equipment, provisional voting, and other paperwork that must be completed on Election Day. Using these data a detailed assessment on each precinct is created and each precinct receives a ranking.  

Image New Hanover County North Carolina Board of Elections Logo

New Hanover County, North Carolina - Election Official Resource Portal

New Hanover County, North Carolina recently developed the "Election Official Resource Portal" (EORP) to provide centralized access to election-related documents, training, and other information. The portal is updated weekly and is designed to thoroughly prepare poll workers for their specific duties. Information provided includes:

  • Election Day and early voting assignments

  • Training videos

  • Election official handbooks

  • Position-specific information

The updated portal, which is currently called the Precinct Official Management Portal, will be released soon.

Additionally to help retain the best poll workers, the county gives out awards for service longevity as well as hosts post-election meetings and focus groups with poll workers. Summary of their retention programs found here.


EAC Resources

U.S. Election Assistance Commission


State and Local Resources

California Contra Costa County Elections Division

Poll Worker Recruitment Video:


City and County of San Francisco Department of Elections


Poll Workers San Francisco1


Florida Pasco County Supervisor of Elections

Poll Worker Training Video: 


Kansas Johnson County Election Office

Election Worker Training Video: 


Missouri Saint Louis County Board of Elections

Best Practice - Tax Bill Insert: 

St Louis MO Tax Bill Insert


New Jersey Sussex County Board of Elections 

Poll Worker Training Videos:

Morning Activities and Opening the IVOs

Setting up the Poll Room and Roster Table

Loading, Casting and Cancelling Ballots

Processing a Voter                               

Form 100 Name and Address Changes

Primary Elections                               

The Orange Provisional Ballot Bag

The Disabled Voter                             

Recording the VAL on  the Pink Sheet