OPINION: Poll Workers are a critical part of West Virginia’s safe and secure election process

By Mac Warner, W.Va. Secretary of State

CHARLESTON, W.Va.   August 23rd is National Poll Worker Recruitment Day. As West Virginia’s chief elections officer, I would like to encourage all eligible West Virginians to take an active role in democracy by being a poll worker in your county.

Foremost, thank you to those who serve, and have served, as poll workers. Thousands of our poll workers have participated in their local elections for years…some even for decades!

Poll workers are critical to a successful and accurate election. The West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office works with our 55 county clerks to ensure that every county has enough trained poll workers for every polling place across the State. In each precinct, the workers represent a variety of political parties to ensure diversity, integrity, and fairness for all sides. There is no better way for a citizen to be part of our democracy than by participating in our election process as a poll worker and voter.

For the primary election scheduled in May of 2024, county clerks will train and employ more than 8,400 poll workers to staff more than 1,680 polling locations on that single day. These poll workers are on the front lines to facilitate eligible voters casting ballots privately and securely, and to ensure that every voter walks away with confidence in the integrity of the election.

It is easy to become a poll worker. Selection starts with the county executive committees, who nominate poll workers by providing a list to each county clerk. From there, the county clerk contacts the nominees to schedule trainings and makes additional nominees for election day and any needed alternates. The requirements to be a poll worker include being a registered voter, having no immediate family member on the ballot in their assigned precinct, and attending poll worker training within 30 days before the election. Poll workers are paid for both attending training and working on Election Day.

In years past, my office has worked closely with the political parties, veterans organizations, the WV Realtors Association, and local high schools to recruit poll workers. In 2022, we helped recruit more than 5,000 poll workers, In 2024, those recruitment efforts will continue, so keep an eye out for advertisements to sign up or go ahead and contact your county executive committee and submit your name for potential nomination.

A poll worker’s Election Day can be long, but it’s a very rewarding experience. The day begins about an hour before polls open at 6:30 am, and they will work the poll until they close at 7:30 pm. Once polls close, the pre-selected poll chief or supply clerk (titles vary by county) will secure the equipment and ballots and transport them to their county clerk at the designated central counting center.

The West Virginia Poll Worker Application Form can be found at GoVoteWV.com, which can be completed and submitted online. 

The 2024 elections are important to our country, our state, and our counties. Since the 2018 elections, West Virginia’s confidence in the election process has been among the highest in the country due to the commitment and professionalism of our poll workers, county clerks’ dedication to the process, and all election officials’ strict adherence to the law. 

On this National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, I invite you to apply to become a poll worker and play an integral role in West Virginia’s safe and secure elections process.

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