Become a Poll Worker and Make Some Extra Cash While Helping People Vote

October 3, 2016
by Carson Kohler
Junior Writer
Poll worker

Welcome ye faithful American citizens.

No matter your state, district or territory, we want to help you make a little extra money off the elections this year (which are Nov. 8, in case you’ve been on an island, in which case, I’m a little jealous).

And nope, it doesn’t require selling Trump toilet paper or a Hillary nutcracker. No joke, those are real things. Nor does it require you to do anything illegal — please don’t do anything illegal.

It only requires you to show up to the polls for a day and help voters run the machines, check signatures and assist in any other necessary manner.

Not only will you be taking part in an historic moment, you’ll pocket some extra money — perfect for everyone’s holiday cheer.

How to Become a Poll Worker in Your State

Unfortunately, becoming a poll worker isn’t a universal process for each state or even in each state’s counties. We found out the hard way when we began tackling this project.

Much of the information you find below focuses on one city or county of your state — as an example.

If you don’t live in that city or county, you can find more information online. Your best bet is to find your Secretary of State’s or Division of Election’s websites. From there, you’ll likely be directed to your city or county’s supervisor of elections’ office — which also usually have websites.

Sometimes you’ll find that the Secretary of State has done the work for you (like Minnesota). Others will make you dig a bit more, like Florida (of course) — which takes you to the Division of Elections site and requires you to find your county.

If you find yourself drowning in the internet, you’ll likely be able to speak with a human when you call your county clerk’s office. Hopefully a representative can point you in the right direction.

Be sure to research or ask about training requirements, as well as any approaching deadlines.

How Much Can You Make as a Poll Worker?

As stated, this isn’t an easy 1-2-3 search process.

Where we could, we listed the general information for each state. Where we couldn’t, we got specific and chose a county to give you an idea of pay, hours, etc. I don’t think anyone would appreciate a 300-page county guide — me included.

So go ahead and start perusing. Keep this in your back pocket, or slip a virtual bookmark on this page for your future reference.

Alabama (Montgomery County)

Qualifications: Must be at least 18 years old and a registered voter in Montgomery County.

Pay: $100

Training: Required, up to 60 days prior to each election

Alaska

Qualifications: Must be registered to vote in Alaska, capable of working in a non-partisan way and have no familial relationships to candidates.

Hours: 15

Pay: $9.50-$10 an hour

Training: 2-hour, paid training

Arizona (Maricopa County)

Qualifications: Must attend training

Hours: 14.5 hours.

Pay: $75-$90

Training: Required but paid — $10 for attending

Arkansas (Pulaski County)

Qualifications: Must be a qualified Arkansas elector; must read and write English; must be resident of the precinct; must not have been found guilty or pleaded guilty to charges against violation of any election law; must not be a paid employee of a party; must not be a candidate; must not be married or related to a candidate

Hours: 13

Pay: $105-$120

California (San Francisco County)

Qualifications: Be at least 18 years old; a U.S. citizen registered to vote in California, and be able to read, write and speak English

Hours: 15.5 hours

Pay: $142-$195

Training: Required

Note: The deadline for the 2016 election passed on Oct. 1. But keep this guide for the next election.

Colorado (Denver County)

Qualifications: Must be a U.S. citizen living in the county; be able to pass a criminal history check; not be related to a candidate by blood or marriage

Hours: 14 hours

Pay: $11-$15.50 an hour

Training: Required, paid

Connecticut (West Hartford)

Qualifications: Must pass a brief interview; have access to a computer (for training purposes); other qualifications vary depending on position

Hours: 14.75 hours; half-day positions available

Pay: $215-$380

Training: 2-hour class, computer required

Delaware

Qualifications: Must be a county resident, registered to vote in Delaware and at least 16 years old

Hours: 15.5 hours

Pay: $190-$235

Training: Required, 3-hour class, paid $50

Note: The deadline has passed for 2016, so remember this for next time.

District of Columbia

Qualifications: Must be registered to vote in the District; cannot be a candidate or nominee for any elected office; cannot work for a political party, committee or campaign

Hours: 15 hours

Pay: $120-$160

Training: Required

Florida (Palm Beach County)

Qualifications: Must be registered in the county

Hours: 13 hours

Pay: $170-$265

Training: Required, 3-7 hours, unpaid

Georgia (Fulton County)

Qualifications: Must be a Fulton County resident and at least 16 years old

Hours: 14.5 hours

Pay: $175-$275

Training: Online and face-to-face training required, paid $30

Hawaii

Qualifications: Must be at least 16 (birthday on or before June 30 of election year); registered Hawaiian voter; can read and write English

Hours: 11 hours

Pay: $50-$175

Idaho (Kootenai County)

Qualifications: Must be 18 years or older; be a registered Idaho voter; cannot be related to a candidate; able to read and write English; lift at least 20 pounds

Hours: 14 hours

Pay: $125 per day; $25 for 2-hour training

Training: Required, paid

Illinois (Cook County)

Qualifications: Must be a registered voter in Cook County; at least 18 years of age; able to speak, read and write English; perform basic math; is not associated with the candidates; cannot be a registered sex offender

Hours: 14+ hours

Pay: $125 for judges

Training: Required, paid $45

Indiana

Qualifications: Must be at least 18 and a registered voter in the county you wish to work

Pay: Up to $150

Iowa (Scott County)

Qualifications: Must be a registered voter in the county

Hours: 15.5 hours

Pay: $7.92 an hour, plus mileage reimbursement (.4650 cents a mile)

Training: Required

Kansas (Shawnee County)

Qualifications: Must be at least 18 years older and an American citizen

Hours: 14 hours; part-time shifts available

Pay: $110

Training: Required, 3 hours, paid minimum wage

Kentucky

Qualifications: Be a registered voter; at least 18 years old; cannot be a candidate or related to one

Hours: 5:30 a.m. to close

Pay: A minimum of $60, payment for mileage

Training: Required, paid $10

Louisiana

Qualifications: Registered to vote in Louisiana, no assistance required

Pay: Up to $200-$250

Training: Required

Maine (City of Auburn)

Qualifications: Must be a U.S. citizen; at least 18 years old; must be a registered voter in Auburn; can’t be an officer of a municipal committee or a political party

Hours: Varies by position

Pay: $7.75-$8 an hour

Training: Required

Maryland (Montgomery County)

Qualifications: Must be a registered Maryland voter; must be a U.S. citizen; must be able to speak, read and write English; can do simple math; can lift 50 pounds with assistance

Pay: $75-$250

Hours: Varies by position

Training: Required, paid $30

Massachusetts (City of Cambridge)

Qualifications: Must be a registered Massachusetts voter; must be able to read, write and speak English

Pay: $15.04-$16.95 an hour

Hours: 14.5 hours

Training: Required, paid

Michigan

Qualifications: Must be a registered Michigan voter; cannot be a challenger, candidate, member of the candidate’s family or a member of the Board of Canvassers; cannot be a convicted felon

Pay: At least minimum wage

Training: Required

Minnesota

Qualifications: Must be a U.S. citizen who can vote in Minnesota; must be able to read, write and speak English; cannot be related to a candidate, live with a candidate or be a candidate

Hours: Full and partial shifts available

Pay: $13.30/hour

Training: Required, at least 2 hours

Note: The deadline for the 2016 election passed May 1.

Mississippi (Madison County)

Pay: Up to $125

Training: Required

Missouri

Qualifications: Must be a registered voter; must be able to speak, read and write English; cannot appear on the ballot or have a close relative on the ballot; cannot hold elective office at the time of service

Hours: 6 a.m. to close

Pay: $64-$100

Training: Required, takes place about 4-6 weeks before the election and lasts 2-8 hours

Montana

Qualifications: Must be registered to vote in the county you’re serving; cannot be related to a candidate

Hours: 14 hours

Pay: At least Montana minimum wage, $8.05

Training: Required, unpaid

Deadline: At least 30 days before the election.

Nebraska

Qualifications: Must be registered to vote in the county you’re serving; must be able to read and write English; cannot be a candidate

Hours: 2 different 13-hour shifts available

Pay: Varies, starts at minimum wage of $9 an hour

Training: Required

Nevada (Clark County)

Qualifications: Must be a registered voter; cannot be a candidate nor related to a candidate; must have reliable transportation

Hours: 14-hour shift on Election Day; workers may also serve during early voting.

Pay: $120

Training: Required, unpaid

Note: The county says it urgently needs qualified elections workers, so here’s more information if you’re interested.

New Hampshire

Note: We could only find limited information for this state but will update you as soon as we know more!

New Jersey

Qualifications: Must be a New Jersey citizen

Pay: $125-$200

Training: Required

New Mexico (Los Alamos County)

Qualifications: Registered to vote in Los Alamos County; must be able to read and write; must be able to execute the oath of office

Pay: $65-$150

Training: Required

New York (New York City)

Qualifications: Must be registered to vote in New York City; must be a permanent U.S. resident; must be at least 18 years old

Hours: 5 a.m. to close

Pay: $200

Training: Required, paid $25-$100

North Carolina (Mecklenburg County)

Qualifications: Must be a registered voter; must be a resident in your precinct and in good standing; must be able to read and write; must not be a government official or a candidate.

Hours: 6:30 a.m. to close (after 7:30 p.m.)

Pay: $100-$200

Training: Required, paid $25

North Dakota (Cass County)

Qualifications: Must be a U.S. citizen and an eligible voter within your county; must be at least 16; must have some basic computer skills; must be able to read and write.

Pay: $12.64 an hour

Training: Required, 3 hours

Ohio

Qualifications: Must be at least 17 years old and registered to vote in the county you wish to serve; cannot have any felony convictions; can’t be a candidate.

Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Pay: Approximately $160

Training: Required, 3 hours; a pre-election meeting at your polling location, 1 hour

Oklahoma (Tulsa County)

Pay: $87-$97, mileage if your home is 10 miles or more away

Training: Required, paid $25, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Oregon

This state’s a bit different from the others. It’s adopted a vote by mail process, which doesn’t require traditional polling sites or workers. You can always reach out to your local board of elections for the deets.

Pennsylvania (Berks County)

Qualifications: Cannot have held public office within two months; cannot be a candidate; must perform duties in a non-partisan manner.

Hours: 15 hours

Pay: $110-$120

Training: Required, two hours, compensated

Puerto Rico

Qualifications: Must be a registered and qualified elector who is 18 or older; must be a resident of the U.S. and Puerto Rico

Hours: 7 a.m. to close

Training: Required

Rhode Island

Qualifications: No need to be a resident of the city/town you’d like to work for but you need to be registered in Rhode Island; must be able to read the state’s constitution in English; must be able to write your own name; cannot be a government employee; cannot be a felon

Hours: 15 hours

Pay: $75 (half day) to $225 including food; complete list of pay rates available online

Training: Required and paid $25 for 3-plus hours

Note: The deadline to apply has passed; the last day of training for the 2016 election was Sept. 7.

South Carolina

Pay: $60-$180, depending on role

Training: Training is required, $60 per day

South Dakota (Pennington County)

Qualifications: Must be a registered Pennington County voter; must be able to read and write English; able to lift 25 pounds

Hours: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. or later

Pay: $100-$175

Training: Required, paid, held the week before the election in 1- to 2-hour sessions

Tennessee (Davidson County)

Qualifications: At least 17 years old and a Davidson County resident; must be able to provide your own transportation

Hours: 13.5 hours

Pay: $150

Training: Required (available on days, nights and Saturdays), paid $30

Note: The poll official roster has been filled for the 2016 election. However, you may continue with the application process if you’d like to be considered for future elections.

Texas (Galveston County)

Qualifications: Must be a registered voter in Galveston County; conversant in English and Spanish

Pay: $10/hour, about $130 total

Training: Required and paid

Utah

Qualifications: Must be registered to vote in the county you work for

Pay: $150-$225

Note: Workers were selected at the end of September, so keep this for the next election!

Vermont

Qualifications: Must be a registered voter and 18 years or older, unless you’re an approved 16- or 17-year-old assistant; must live in the district you work in

Pay: Varies, minimum wage at least

Training: Required, no pay mentioned

Virginia (Fairfax County)

Qualifications: Need to be a registered Virginia voter who isn’t an elected official or an employee of an elected official

Hours: 16+ hours

Pay: $175-$250

Training: Required, 3 hours, no pay mentioned

Note: The application deadline has already passed for the 2016 election.

Washington

Washington seems to have adopted the same process as Oregon with a vote-by-mail process. Therefore, it doesn’t staff traditional poll workers.

West Virginia

Qualifications: Must be a registered voter in the county you’re serving; must be able to read and write English; cannot be a candidate nor be related to a candidate

Hours: 14 hours

Pay: Up to $175

Training: Required, one-day session, pays up to $125

Wisconsin (City of Milwaukee)

Hours: 14.5+ hours

Pay: $130-$160

Training: Required, pays $25

Note: The deadline for the 2016 election has already passed.

Wyoming

Qualifications: Must be registered to vote in Wyoming; must be physically, morally and mentally competent. More details are available on the Wyoming Secretary of State’s website.

And, even if you don’t sign up to be a poll worker, the least you can do is get out there and vote!

Your Turn: Have you ever been a poll worker?

Editorial intern Teyonna Edwards helped with the research for this post.

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. After recently completing graduate school, she focuses on saving money — and surviving the move back in with her parents.

by Carson Kohler
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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