December 24, 2022
12 Tips for Retaining Election Workers
Recruiting and retaining election workers is a difficult task for most election officials. According to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, 52% of jurisdictions report that maintaining a sufficient voting location staffing was either “very difficult” or “somewhat difficult.”
Most election workers serve only one or two days during a two-year period. Many election workers go months or even years between each shift. However, providing excellent support increases the likelihood election workers will have a positive experience and want to come back. Retaining experienced election workers is essential to ensuring that elections are administered properly.
1. Support election workers during their shifts
Support your election workers by pairing new workers with experienced workers who can quickly help them resolve issues. Additionally, provide designated hotlines for election workers to call with problems or questions. Assigned field workers who help troubleshoot hardware and run supplies to voting locations are valuable resources for workers.
2. Host regular gatherings of election workers
Invite election workers to come to your office quarterly for coffee. You can talk to them about the latest developments related to elections or invite guest speakers to talk to them about what is going on in the community.
3. Celebrate election workers with a reception after each election cycle
Who doesn’t appreciate being celebrated? Consider hosting an end-of-the-election-cycle celebration at which you recognize workers for their contributions. If permitted, local businesses may sponsor the event. This helps with your budget and allows the community to engage with the event.
4. Recognize election workers’ service with mementos
Custom enamel pins can be a fun item for election workers to collect and exhibit how many election cycles they’ve worked. If custom enamel pins aren’t in your budget, consider different colors of lanyards that note incremental years of experience or an enhanced name badge showing years of service.
5. Send birthday and thank you cards
Receiving a birthday card from your office shows election workers that you appreciate them – even during the periods when your office doesn’t need their help.
6. Create an election worker newsletter
Whether you do it monthly or quarterly, sending out a newsletter is an effective way of keeping in touch with election workers. Additionally, keeping in touch regularly – and assigning someone to do this as part of their job duties – will help you maintain contact information and identify workers who may no longer be available for future election cycles.
7. Highlight election workers on your social media accounts
Use your social media accounts to highlight workers. Keep it simple – a picture and brief quote from the person describing why they enjoy being an election worker is enough. Ask for permission before using anyone’s name or photo.
8. Send a post-election survey
Free tools like Google Forms make it easy to solicit feedback from election workers. Giving workers the option to submit anonymously and taking feedback seriously will allow you to address any issues and hopefully provide a more enjoyable experience for your workers.
9. Conduct regular (optional) trainings
Invite election workers to keep their skills sharp with regular training sessions. Consider issuing election training certificates, either paper or digital. People love even small tokens that acknowledge their accomplishments. Consider certifying your best election workers to be assistant trainers.
In addition to hands-on training, having demonstration equipment available in the office for the workers to use to familiarize themselves with the equipment may alleviate workers’ anxiety about using the equipment.
10. Invite election workers to help with outreach
If your state’s laws allow it, inviting election workers to assist with community events and presentations can keep them engaged.
11. Participate in National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, Election Hero Day and similar Civic Holidays
Consider asking your City Council or County Board to publicly acknowledge these days on their agendas. Consider asking your local representative or senator to compose a resolution honoring your election workers, and send each of them a copy.
12. Thank first-time workers
Consider personally calling first-time workers to thank them for their service and get their commitment to continue serving and invite others – family, friends and neighbors – to join them next time.
Work with The Elections Group
With the goal of identifying and developing best practices, The Elections Group partners with election jurisdictions to provide free or low-cost support. If your jurisdiction is interested in partnering with us to receive support, please contact us.
Don’t need assistance but want to share something your office is doing? Send it our way!
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