CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Wednesday was the third annual National Poll Worker Recruitment Day. Poll workers play a major role in local elections, typically assisting in early voting, election day, and the canvas process that takes place after the fact.
These workers are typically tasked with educating people and making them feel more comfortable when they come in to vote.
“Part of their job is to make sure folks know what to do, where to go, and just instruct them and generally make it a welcoming environment for people,” said John Spires, the Harrison County Clerk.
Spires also said that “it’s always a challenge to recruit people,” given that almost 400 people are needed to cover all of the polling locations. According to Spires, there’s typically a “standard batch” of people who come out to volunteer every year. However, the county likes to have backup volunteers as well in case anyone gets sick or experiences a last-minute emergency.
In Harrison County alone, there are over 60 different polling locations, with five workers assigned to each building on voting days.
“When you go to vote, there’s five smiling faces in there that help you go to vote,” Spires added. “Without them, none of it could happen. It’s very important for neighbors to see their neighbors doing things like this. That way, they can trust the process and ensure that it remains free and fair.”
In order to be eligible to be a poll worker, you must be a registered voter in your county, and attend a mandatory training course. “No matter how many elections you’ve worked, you have to attend training before every single election,” Spires commented. “Laws change, protocols change, but it’s very important that people attend training.
These training courses are about two hours long, and they explain all of the ins and outs of the election process so that volunteers are able to feel comfortable helping others on voting days. During the course, it is also shown how to operate the polling machines.
To register to be a poll worker, you can do so on GoVoteWV.com. If you live in Harrison County, you can also sign up by calling them directly at (304) 624-8613 and ask to have your name placed on the list.