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Become a Poll Worker

Citizen involvement is essential to conduct open, accurate and fair elections in Wisconsin.   We hope that you will consider participation in one of these positions.

What are the responsibilities of a poll worker?  Poll workers conduct assigned duties at a polling site on Election Day.  Duties can include issuing ballots to registered voters, registering voters, monitoring the voting equipment, explaining how to mark the ballot or use the voting equipment or counting votes.

What are the hours of work? Polling places are open statewide from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Poll workers can work a full day, generally from 6:30 a.m. until approximately 9:00 p.m. or later in the case of November elections.  In many municipalities, election inspectors can work a split shift. The use of shifts must be approved by the ordinance and can be done in any city, village or town.

Are poll workers compensated?  Yes, poll workers are compensated for working at polling places at a rate determined by the appropriate municipal governing body, and, in some municipalities, are also compensated for attending any required training sessions.  Poll workers may also choose to volunteer their services by filing a written declination of compensation with the municipal clerk 

 What are the training requirements for poll workers? Municipal clerks are required by state law to provide training. This training provides all of the necessary information and knowledge to be a successful poll worker.  An experienced chief inspector who has been certified by the Wisconsin Elections Commission must be present at each polling place for each election.   Chief inspectors must receive six hours of continuing election education training during each two-year period.

 What length of commitment will be expected?  Poll workers are appointed to two-year terms so you will be asked to make a minimum two-year commitment.   However, committing to one election cycle (Primary/General) is also appreciated.

What are the specific qualifications to be a poll worker?  Be a qualified elector of the county in which the municipality is located (i.e., an adult citizen of the United States who has resided in the election district for 10 consecutive days and is not otherwise disqualified to vote).Be able to speak, read, and write fluently in the English language. Have strong clerical skills. Be able to solve problems. Be an effective communicator. NOT be a candidate for any office to be voted on at the polling place at that election. 

How are poll workers selected?  According to State Statutes (7.30 ( 4)) the Mayor, President or Board Chairperson of the municipality is required to nominate poll workers to the governing body no later than the last regular meeting in December of odd-numbered years. The governing body of the municipality appoints the poll workers for a two-year term before December 31. 

If a local party does not submit a list, or does not submit enough names, the Mayor, President or Board Chairperson may nominate qualified individuals on a non-partisan basis, without regard to party affiliation.

Can I be excused from my regular job to be a poll worker?  Wisconsin law requires every employer to grant an unpaid leave of absence to each employee who is appointed to serve as an election official, if the employee who serves as an election official provides his or her employer with at least 7 days' notice.  The leave is for the entire 24-hour period of each election day in which the employee serves in his or her official capacity as an election official.   Upon request of any employer municipal clerks must verify appointments. 

Are poll workers' earnings taxable?  According to the IRS: Election Workers: Election workers are common-law employees; however, under IRC 3121b)(7)(F)(iv) an exception from FICA is provided for election officials and workers who earn less than a specified amount for a calendar year ($1,400 in 2008). This provision applies to employing entities that do not have a Section 218 Agreement. 

If the employing entity has a Section 218 Agreement, the Agreement determines the treatment of election worker wages for social security tax. It may exclude election workers altogether from social security; it may specify a lower threshold at which social security tax is withheld; or it may provide no exclusion for election workers, in which case social security and Medicare taxes apply from the first dollar paid.

 

 

 

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