How Poll Workers Make Elections Happen

Poll Workers play several critical roles on Election Day

There are many tasks to complete on election day and Poll Workers play several critical roles in getting these tasks done.  Each precinct board is made of up four roles: roster-index clerk, ballot clerk, index clerk, and ballot box clerk. We encourage precinct boards to rotate duties throughout the day for cross-training to cover Poll Worker breaks and in the event a Poll Worker must leave during the day. Changing positions also helps Poll Workers stay alert throughout the 15-hour Election Day. 

Roster-Index Clerk

The roster-index clerk is the first face voters see. An example of the roster-index clerk's duties include:

        ◦  Greeting the voters.
        ◦  Verifying a voter's name and residential address.
        ◦  Looking up the voter's name on the precinct roster.
        ◦  Directing the voter to his or her voting precinct table. 

Ballot Clerk

The ballot clerk issues one official ballot, security folder, and marking pen (without cap) to each voter who has signed the roster, instructs the voter on how to mark the ballot, how to use the security folder, and directs the voter to an empty voting booth. An example of the ballot clerk's duties include
  • Issuing ballots in serial number order starting with the lowest number.
  • Keeping only one pad of ballots at a time on the table to make sure ballots are issued in serial number order. For the partisan primary, it may be helpful to stack the ballots for the minor parties.
  • Detaching ballot from the ballot pad by tearing carefully along the perforated line closest to the staples holding the pad together.

Index Clerk

The index clerk is responsible for crossing off names of voters on the rosters that are posted outside the polling place. As each voter announces his/her name and address, the index clerk performs the following (use a ruler as a guide):
  • Finding the voter's name in the roster. Names are listed alphabetically by last name.
  • Using the ruler and pen or highlighter, line out the voter's name and address.
  • Updating the hanging roster every hour until and including 6 p.m.

Ballot Box Clerk

The ballot box clerk is responsible for assisting precinct voters cast their vote on the eScan, and VBM and provisional voters cast their ballot in the side of the ballot box. An example of the ballot box clerk's duties include:
  • Detaching the voter stub from the ballot and gives it to the voter as receipt for having voted.
  • Ensuring the voted ballot is properly placed in the eScan. The voter may choose to insert the ballot themselves or have the clerk do it for them.
  • Giving the voter an "I Voted!" sticker.
  • Issuing the access code for the disabled accessible unit (DAU) for voters with disabilities and instructs voters on its use.
  • Providing support for all activities in the polling place such as helping voters (especially disabled voters), monitoring the condition of the voting booths for any written marks or materials left behind, and maintaining general order in the polling place.
Additional Poll Worker Responsibilities
 All board members are expected to be at the polling location by 6 a.m., and remain until all closing procedures have been completed, which may last until 9 or 10 p.m. Breaks are assigned by the Inspector.


It is the Office of Elections goal for all Poll Workers to be properly trained. Once a Poll Worker's Notice of Appointment is confirmed he or she will receive a training schedule to sign-up for trainings. It is a Poll Worker's responsibility to sign-up for training.  

Food & Drinks

An important (but unofficial) responsibility for almost all boards is food and water. Poll Workers have a long day. Eating well and staying hydrated is important for staying alert and productive.  

Set Up

Precinct boards meet at the polling location the afternoon or evening before election day to set up the booths and signs, and get ready for the next day.