The recruitment of poll workers is consistently mentioned as a priority for local election officials throughout Kansas. Volunteers and temporary workers play an essential role on Election Day in helping with a variety of election day operations and we need your help!
Becoming a poll worker is easy. Individuals can get started by contacting the Secretary of State’s office at 1-800-262-8683, by contacting your local election office or by filling out the online application at the link below. Volunteers must complete training, be registered to vote (if of voting age), an American citizen, at least 16 years old and willing to take an oath of office. In addition, volunteers get compensation for their time. If volunteers are unable to work an entire day, they are encouraged to take a part-time shift or split the day with a friend, family member or colleague.
The Secretary of State’s Office has partnered with the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB), the Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) and the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) on a renewed effort to encourage high school students to volunteer as poll workers. Rather than placing another mandate on educators, we work with them to provide students with additional volunteer opportunities while also providing local election officials with help.
All high school students in Kansas are required to take at least three credits of history and government in order to graduate. A good GPA and satisfactory ACT or SAT scores are no longer enough for students seeking entrance to post-secondary education institutions. Increased priority is also being placed on well-rounded students who are civically engaged.
There are numerous opportunities to inspire and incentivize high school students to volunteer. Many are even being used by employers to encourage civic engagement among its workforce. Ample opportunities exist and we encourage administrators and educators to work together to identify solutions that work for their respective school districts. Some ideas include:
- Allowing excused absences for students who volunteer as poll workers;
- Providing class credit or extra credit for students who volunteer as poll workers;
- Inviting local election officials to speak to the class about the importance of poll workers;
- Set-up a lunch and learn that allows local election officials to train student volunteers over the lunch hour; and
- Offer additional incentives for students who volunteer as poll workers