San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties each have about 500 poll workers signed up right now, but they’re looking to recruit more for the upcoming statewide election this June.
“Without [volunteers], the election wouldn't happen," Blake Markum, the Santa Barbara County Elections Division Head of Poll Operations, said. "And they are what makes this all possible. So we always need community support so that we can get people out there and make sure people are able to vote.”
Markum told us Election Day is the only full day volunteers are required to work, but there are other responsibilities involved.
“The day before the election, [volunteers] set up the polling place in the evening, around 4 to 6 p.m., [to] make sure that everything is ready to go first thing in the morning,” Markum said.
Elaina Cano, the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder, explained a few other roles volunteers play.
"Poll workers are responsible for the setup of our polling place [on Election Day]," Cano said. "They are responsible for assisting our voters when they come in to vote. They are responsible for ensuring the safety and security at a polling place to make sure that all laws are being followed."
This year's ballot has multiple pages, Cano said. Poll workers will be on hand to help clear up any confusion regarding the change.
In both San Luis Obispo and San Luis Obispo Counties, precinct and poll workers will receive training ahead of Election Day. They will also receive a stipend. The amount of money involved depends on a volunteer's role for working Election Day.
San Luis Obispo County is seeing the same amount of need as a normal election year; however, the June 7 election is in the summer, which officials say can be a hurdle.
“June elections always present a particular challenge just because the students are out of school," Markum said. "So we tend to have a tougher time recruiting student poll workers. Also, people tend to take vacations during the summer and may not be in town for the election."
To be eligible to be a poll worker, an applicant must be a registered voter in California or a permanent resident.
Ahead of the June 7 election, every registered voter in California will receive a in the mail.