D.C. Board of Elections recruiting election day poll workers for pay

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Powell School in Ward 1 is the polling place for precinct 47. Voters will cast their ballots in the multi-purpose room. Photo courtesy of Amanda Menas

By Amanda Menas

For the general elections on November 6, 2018, the D.C. Board of Elections (DCBOE) will  pay individuals who work at the polls.

With the goal of putting “democracy into action”, DCBOE announced on August 28, 2018 it is formally recruiting approximately 2,000 residents to work at the 143 polling locations across the eight wards. Pay will range from $180 for clerks, to $250 for precinct captains. This amount ensures attendance at the training day, set up on the Monday prior to the election, and on election day.

Furthermore, precinct captains receive higher pay for attending the trainings of all clerical positions. Those positions include ballot clerks, voter assistance clerks, check in clerks, and special ballot clerks. Additional pay will be provided to a limited number of individuals employed during Early Voting at one of nine locations, and to those with bilingual or advanced technical skills trained as precinct technicians.

According to the US Election Assistance Commission, almost all states and territories including D.C. have requirements for paying election officials. Washington is exclusively a vote-by-mail state and does not have poll workers. And New Hampshire regulations were not included in the 2016 compilation of Election Worker Laws and Statutes. Many states simply pay election workers the federal or state minimum wage, while others allow county officials to decide rates or stipend amounts independently.

D.C. is joined by only Ohio in formally stating compensation requirements for interpreters. While ability to read, write, and speak English is required to serve as a D.C. poll worker,  individuals are asked specifically about fluency in Chinese and Spanish during the application process.

Rachel Coll, the public information officer at DCBOE, says the Voter Education and Outreach Division has also continued to identify charitable organizations and civic and community associations, such as churches or sororities, for the Adopt-a-Precinct program.

Campaign signs line Georgia Avenue. Photo courtesy of Amanda Menas.

Across all eight wards, there are 15 precincts eligible where the stipends of the poll workers will be pooled and donated to a cause of their choice. Volunteer hours may be also rewarded in replacement of monetary compensation for high school students over the age of 16 by election day.

Election day workers will be compensated for their work during the two to four hours in training at the BOE offices in southeast D.C., three hours setting up their designated polling place, and the full election day from 6:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m..