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EAC Chair Urges Recruitment of Two Million Poll Workers for Presidential Election PDF  | Print |  Email
By EAC Media Release   
July 24, 2008
U.S. Election Assistance Commission Chair Rosemary Rodriguez today emphasized the need to be prepared for record turnout this presidential election by calling for a recruitment goal of two million poll workers.

"We have seen historically high voter turnout during the primaries and continued high registration rates this year," said Chair Rodriguez. "Poll workers have always been central to ensuring smooth and accurate elections, and we will need them more than ever in November. Recruiting two million poll workers is an ambitious goal, but I believe if we can get the word out to the public, they will respond and participate.

"Election officials throughout the nation anticipate high voter turnout to continue in the general election. Preparation for high turnout includes extra ballots and voting machines, but most important, we must have as many poll workers--including bilingual poll workers--as possible to prevent long lines."

Jurisdictions in states throughout the country continue to see record numbers of citizens registering to vote. A record-setting 58.7 million citizens cast a vote during this year's presidential primary, according to a report by the Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network.

During the last presidential election, 5.8 percent of polling places and 4 percent of precincts reported having too few poll workers, according to the EAC's 2004 Election Day Survey. When a precinct experiences a poll worker shortage, lines are longer and there is less support available to voters who have questions or need assistance.

"The EAC is here to help states recruit poll workers and train them," said the Chair. "We're focused on giving states, colleges and civic organizations the tools and resources they need to make sure they have enough poll workers in November."

Those resources include $1.65 million the EAC has issued in grant money for colleges and nonprofits to recruit students to serve as poll workers. In addition, the EAC's glossaries of election terms translated into six languages can help poll workers assist voters with alternative language needs. The EAC has also issued a guidebook on poll worker recruitment for election officials and civic organizations. State-by-state poll worker requirements are listed on the EAC's Web site at www.eac.gov. To find out how to become a poll worker, contact the Election Assistance Commission at (866) 747-1471.

The EAC is an independent bipartisan commission created by the Help America Vote Act.  The EAC serves as a national clearinghouse and resource of information regarding election administration.  It is charged with administering payments to states and developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and accrediting voting system test laboratories and certifying voting equipment.  It is also charged with developing and maintaining a national mail voter registration form. The three EAC commissioners are Rosemary Rodriguez, chair; Gracia Hillman; and Donetta Davidson. There is one vacancy on the commission.
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