Work the Polls
Elections are held every year in Maine. Locally, town and city offices are filled by residents who take an interest in shaping the way their community makes decisions, supports public education, manages the natural and social environments, and cares for important infrastructure. State elections to shape our Legislature occur every November and our U.S. Representatives come up for reelection every two years, our Senators every six.
A. Polls are run in each area of your state, usually attached to a city or town. Election officials are called Election Clerks, or Municipal Clerks. There are a number of different jobs that Poll workers do in each location - some the day of the election and some before the election related to absentee ballots. To find out who your Election Clerk is and their phone number please go to https://www.workelections.com/ in Maine go to https://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/munic.html
B. If you would like to have a script to help start the conversation with your local Election clerk please go to this link: Script for Approaching Election Clerks
C. If you would like a summary of your state’s laws governing who can work in the polls this is a compendium of the laws. Note: laws may have been updated since its publication in 2016.
D. Once you have connected with your local election clerk, and have determined that they are open to working with young people find out what process they have in place for the next time that poll workers will be needed. Let your friends at school and in the community know. For a great example of how some voting precincts encourage youth to participate check out the Student Election Officer Program in San Joaquin County in California. Perhaps your town/county/state could do something similar?
E. If you are a college student there is a national effort to sign up college aged students as poll workers - check out these sites for help navigating to your election clerk. Power the Polls helps you get connected. In Maine the people organizing the effort are Sadie Faucher at firstname.lastname@example.org and Meghan McCormick at email@example.com.
F. If you run into questions, concerns, places where you are not getting the help you need, please contact us through this webpage.
G. And, if you are interested in building a youth movement to work the polls and expand the idea of active youth engagement in public decision making, please contact us through this webpage and consider joining our youth steering committee.