Want to Protect Democracy? Be a Poll Worker

Early voters line up to cast their ballots inside the South Regional Library polling location in Durham, N.C., in October, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

By Michael McElroy

August 22, 2023

The North Carolina Board of Elections is hiring elections officials to work at voting sites and help ensure the voting process is free, fair, and efficient.

The frontlines of democracy are hiring. 

The North Carolina Board of Elections is seeking elections officials to work voting sites and ensure the process is free, fair and efficient.

Elections officials “protect democracy, learn about the elections process, serve their communities and receive payment for their dedication,” the Board of Elections says.

The positions could be especially important moving forward, because the General Assembly passed measures this year that give partisan poll observers freer range at the voting booth. This increases the possibility of voter intimidation and harassment, so there may be plenty that needs protecting.

The state’s voter ID requirement also goes into effect for this year’s municipal elections, so voters are likely to have all sorts of questions about  the new rules. 

According to the board, election officials have a full and important to-do list: “Election officials operate the polls during early voting and on Election Day by providing services such as setting up the voting equipment, checking in voters, processing ballots, assisting voters with special needs, and closing and securing the voting site at the end of the day.”

To qualify for the position, you have to be a registered voter, and can only serve in the precinct you live in. (High school students who are at least 17 years old and are in “good academic standing” can also apply.)

You can’t be a candidate in a current election or be related to a candidate, the board says. Elected officials and political party officials are also unable to serve.

Some 20,000 poll workers did their duty in the 2022 elections.

“Our election couldn’t be full or fair without them,” the editorial board of WRAL wrote then. “We are grateful for their service.”

Click here to fill out an application, or visit https://www.ncsbe.gov/democracy-heroes-form


  • Michael McElroy

    Michael McElroy is Cardinal & Pine's political correspondent. He is an adjunct instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and a former editor at The New York Times.

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