As election officials work to mitigate health risks at in-person polling sites in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the issues of poll worker recruitment, training, and retention are becoming increasingly important. Indeed, in response to the EAC’s 2018 Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS), states reported that roughly 58 percent of poll workers deployed during the 2018 midterms were aged 61 and older, an age group that may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19, according to the CDC.

Utilizing the National Guard for Election Day (Wisconsin) - EAC Vice Chairman Donald Palmer was joined by Meagan Wolfe (Wisconsin Election Commission Administrator) and Brigadier General Robyn Blader (Wisconsin National Guard) for a Zoom interview to discuss how they worked together to utilize the National Guard for Election Day this spring. This blog includes some key considerations Ms. Wolfe and Brigadier General Blader shared for election administrators and National Guard members as they plan for upcoming elections, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Wisconsin National Guard members were trained and served as poll workers in two elections – the April 7th general election and the May 12th special congressional election in which 2,500 and 160 members participated respectively. 

Election Worker Successful Practices: Recruitment, Training and Retention - This 2016 manual explores the methods used by election offices to recruit, train, and retain poll workers, including appealing to high school and college students, and engaging businesses and civic organizations.

State by State Compendium: Election Worker Laws and Statutes – This 2020 resource is a compilation of state laws, regulations, and information on poll worker requirements. It includes information on age requirements and exceptions, programs for high school and college student poll workers, how much poll workers are paid, and other requirements and prohibitions

Election Administration and Voting Survey reports and data – The EAVS collects jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction data on many election administration topics, including poll workers. Data collected includes the number of poll workers deployed, age of poll workers, and ease of recruiting poll workers. In addition the EAVS comprehensive reports that summarize this data every two years, the EAC published an EAVS Deep Dive on Poll Workers and Polling Places in 2017, which takes a closer look at 2016 EAVS data on poll workers and polling places.

Clearinghouse Award Winners for "Best Practices in Recruiting, Retaining and Training Poll Workers" – The EAC launched the Clearinghouse Awards “Clearies” in 2016 to promote best election practices. Clearie winners in the category of “Best Practices in Recruiting, Retaining and Training Poll Workers” include:  

2020 Election Summit, Panel 4: Overcoming Election Day and Poll Worker Challenges – During the 2020 Election Summit, EAC Commissioner Don Palmer moderated a panel with local election officials from five states, who discussed  strategies for poll worker recruitment and managing change at the polling place.

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