Santa Clara County in Dire Need of Poll Workers for June Primary

Santa Clara County faces a critical shortage of election officers to staff the polls come June 5. The Registrar of Voters (ROV) put out a call on Thursday for 1,400 more volunteers to reach its target of 4,000 to assign to 824 polling places countywide.

Election officers are especially needed in San Jose’s Almaden, Willow Glen and downtown neighborhoods as well as in Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Saratoga.

“It is always hard to recruit election officers in a primary election,” ROV Shannon Bushey said in a news release. “People may be going on summer vacation, in the midst of exams or already out of school and out of town. We want to get the word out that we do have an urgent need for people to sign up for this vital function of democracy.”

Bilingual workers are in particularly high demand to interact with voters in diverse neighborhoods throughout the region. Bilingual workers are expected to be comfortable conversing in both English and one of the following languages: Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Taiwanese), Tagalog, Korean, Russian, Farsi, Punjabi, Japanese, Hindi, Telugu, Portuguese, Khmer, Syriac, Tamil, Gujarati and Nepali.

Despite the shortage of volunteers, all polling stations will be up and running June 5.

“We are confident that if the word gets out there that we really need people to sign up, we will see more recruitment in coming weeks,” Bushey said. “We would like to see the full complement on hand at each polling place as well as some reserve officers in the wings.”

Election officers perform a variety of duties, including checking in voters, providing and collecting the ballots and making sure it gets returned to the ROV office to tally. The officers ensure that voters have a safe place to cast their ballot and help accommodate people with disabilities or who speak languages other than English.

The officers earn a $200 stipend for working the polls. They must be at least 16 years old, U.S. citizens or permanent residents and registered voters. There’s no prerequisite experience needed since the ROV offers training.

If you think you’re up to the task, sign up online here.


    • Election Officers are required to staff their polling site from 6 a.m. through approximately 9 p.m. on Election Day. You will be given two meal breaks during the day. You are also required to help set up the polling place the day before the election (E-1) and attend training. Precinct Inspectors are paid a stipend of $140 plus $30 for training and $20 for E-1 setup $ 10 for returning all required supplies on Election Night , and Clerks $115 plus $20 for training and $10 for E-1 setup. If you do not serve on Election Day, you will not receive the training stipend. To serve as an Election Officer you must be a citizen and registered voter of the State of California or a legal permanent resident. If not registered to vote, you will be required to register.

    • Kathleen,

      I know the feeling. I registered in February and finally got a cold call the end of April. I have done the online and in person training (4.5 hours total) but I am still waiting for my official notice of appointment 2 weeks before polling day..government at its finest!

  1. Do poll workers get a couple of free ballots?

    Like an employee discount or something?

  2. Geez, One has to get online training to poll? Well, at least if one passes the muster, there’s a couple of hundred dollars available as a stipend.

  3. Why do we need to vote in a one party system that Hillary and staff have already picked the winners and will contest if the stupid voters try and have a say? Seem like a Venezuela out come to me!

  4. Every election year we get the same story–not enough poll workers-just like every mid-November we get a plea for more turkeys to give away to people who don’t work, or who have too many kids they cannot feed. The turkeys always arrive. So will the poll workers.

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