January 11, 2002
Keri Gee Barnett 714.541.5537, ext. 20
Terri Niccum 714.567.7623
Poll Workers Needed
for Election Day
Santa Ana With Board action on Tuesday
to allow County employees to volunteer during work hours
at polling places on Election Day, Registrar of Voters
Rosalyn Lever is launching an outreach effort to broaden
the pool of available volunteers.
County employees will be a great asset, said
Rosalyn Lever, County Registrar of Voters. But even
with these new resources, the student poll worker program
and our dedicated group of returning poll workers, the
need to recruit new poll workers is great.
Twice a year, in even-numbered years, Orange County conducts
major countywide elections. This involves establishing
about 1,700 polling places and staffing them with 7,000
volunteers. These volunteers give of their time (from
12 to 14 hours on Election Day) to ensure that all eligible
County citizens are able to exercise their constitutional
right to vote.
Our election process depends on these dedicated
individuals, said Lever. Yet, even with a
well-intentioned team of volunteers, we experience an
average of 1,000 poll worker cancellations within 30 days
of an election, and 300 of these come less than 24 hours
before the election.
When this happens, polling places dont operate the
way they should. A full staff of volunteers is needed
so that polling places will open on time with courteous
poll workers trained to assist voters and answer their
questions. Filling last-minute vacancies is difficult,
however. And the problem is compounded when cancellations
come for much-needed bilingual poll positions.
Lever said that the aging of the polling place work force
also contributes to the shortage. A sizable number
of our polling place workers are seniors who are finding
it more and more difficult to work the polls, she
said. Consequently, it becomes increasingly difficult
to find civic-minded, elections-trained individuals to
serve in our polling place work force.
Typically, polling places are staffed by four poll workers.
Poll workers participate in a two-hour training session,
for which they receive a $20 stipend. Those workers in
charge of polling places are paid $70 for serving on Election
Day. All other poll workers are paid $50.
Poll workers must be United States citizens, 18 years
of age or older on or before Election Day and able to
read and speak English. They also must be able to work
from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 pm. on Election Day.
One of our goals is to broaden the pool of volunteers
to include diversity in age, ethnicity and bilingual skills,
said Lever. In addition to the basic criteria, she added,
we are looking for people who are dedicated, efficient,
patient and friendly.
This years poll worker recruitment theme is P.S.
Work the Polls.
When people make their to-do lists for Election
Day, we hope they will remember to add that postscript
-- work the polls, said Lever. Its an
option that is both patriotic and enjoyable. And that
P.S. also stands for patriotic service, personal satisfaction
and pride in service.
For information on volunteering as a poll worker, call
the Registrar of Voters at 714 . 567 . 7580