Citizen involvement is essential to conduct open, accurate and fair elections in Wisconsin. We hope that you will consider participation in one of these positions.
Poll workers conduct assigned duties at a polling site on Election Day. Duties can include issuing ballots to registered voters, registering voters, monitoring the voting equipment, explaining how to mark the ballot or use the voting equipment, or counting votes.
Other positions at a polling place include a greeter who assists with answering questions and directing voters to the voting area, an election registration official to a polling place to register voters, and tabulators to assist at the polling place after it closes.
Polling places are open statewide from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Poll workers can work a full day, generally from 6:30 a.m. until approximately 9:00 p.m. or later in the case of November elections. In the Town of Rubicon, election inspectors can work a split shift.
Yes, poll workers are compensated for working at polling places at a rate determined by the appropriate municipal governing body, and, in some municipalities, are also compensated for attending any required training sessions. Poll workers may also choose to volunteer their services by filing a written declination of compensation with the municipal clerk.
Municipal clerks are required by state law to provide training. This training provides all of the necessary information and knowledge to be a successful poll worker. (Many municipalities require poll workers to attend a comprehensive training course prior to each Primary election.)
An experienced chief inspector who has been certified by the Wisconsin Elections Commission must be present at each polling place for each election. Chief inspectors must receive six hours of continuing election education training during each two-year period.
Poll workers are appointed to two-year terms so you will be asked to make a minimum two-year commitment. However, committing to one election cycle (Primary/General) is also appreciated.
To be a poll worker, a person must:
- Be a qualified elector of the county in which the municipality is located (i.e., an adult citizen of the United States who has resided in the election district for 10 consecutive days and is not otherwise disqualified to vote)
- Be able to read and write fluently in the English language
- NOT be a candidate for any office to be voted on at the polling place at that election.
A poll worker may also:
- Have strong clerical skills
- Be able to solve problems
- Be an effective communicator
If you are interested in becoming a poll worker, apply directly to your town clerk.
If you are active in a political party, you can be nominated by your county party to serve as an election official. You can find contact information for your county party chairperson by going to www.wisgop.org/county-parties/for the Republican party or www.wisdems.org/county-partiesfor the Democratic party. You can select your county from these websites and view the contact information for your local party chairperson. Please note that party nominations must be submitted to the mayor, village president or town board chairperson no later than November 30 of each odd-numbered year.
You can contact your municipal clerk directly to find out more about the application process. Your municipal clerk’s contact information can be found at MyVote.wi.gov.
Wisconsin law requires every employer to grant an unpaid leave of absence to each employee who is appointed to serve as an election official, if the employee who serves as an election official provides their employer with at least 7 days' notice. The leave is for the entire 24-hour period of each election day in which the employee serves in their official capacity as an election official. Upon request of any employer municipal clerks must verify appointments.
Wisconsin Statutes provide that state employees appointed by a municipal clerk to serve as election officials must be granted leave without loss of pay or benefits for the entire 24-hour period of each election day in which the employee is serving as an election official. Employees must provide at least 7 days’ notice of the need for leave.
State employees may certify to the municipality that they choose not to be paid as poll workers. Alternatively, those state employees who receive pay as election officials must certify in writing to the (state) payroll office the amount of compensation received. The agency must deduct that amount from the employee’s pay earned for scheduled work hours during the 24-hour period of the election day.
State employees who “volunteer” but are not appointed to be poll workers must take vacation or leave without pay if authorized by supervisory staff.