The recruitment of poll workers is consistently mentioned as a priority concern with local election officials across Kansas. In a new endeavor, the Secretary of State’s Office has partnered with the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB), the Kansas National Education Association (KNEA), Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) and United School Administrators – Kansas (USA-Kansas) on a renewed effort to encourage high school students to volunteer as poll workers. Rather than placing another mandate on educators, we want work with them to offer students additional volunteer opportunities while also providing local election officials with the help they need.
There are numerous opportunities to inspire and incentivize high school students to volunteer. Many are even being used by employers to encourage civic engagement among its workforce. We encourage administrators and educators to work together to identify solutions that work for their respective school districts. Some ideas include:
- Allowing excused absences for students who volunteer as poll workers;
- Providing class credit or extra credit for students who volunteer as poll workers;
- Inviting local election officials to speak to the class about the importance of poll workers;
- Set-up a lunch and learn that allows local election officials to train student volunteers over the lunch hour; and
- Offer additional incentives for students who volunteer as poll workers
Becoming a poll worker is easy. Individuals can get started by contacting the Secretary of State’s office at 1-800-262-8683 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers must complete training, be registered to vote (if of voting age), an American citizen, at least 16 years old and willing to take an oath of office. Volunteers are compensated for their time. Election hours for full-time positions are approximately 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. or for part-time workers approximately 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. If volunteers are unable to work an entire day, they are encouraged to take a part-time shift or split the day with a friend, family member or classmate.