Election Workers
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Election Workers


Election Workers are essential to ensuring that elections are a success. With each election, thousands of dedicated Harris County residents dedicate themselves to sustaining the backbone of democracy -- our election process. On average, Harris County opens approximately 750 Vote Centers each Election Day.

The Harris County Clerk's Office Elections Department encourages those interested in becoming election workers at the Vote Center on Election Day to learn more about what is required and how to sign-up.

Election Worker

In Texas, at a minimum, to be eligible for appointment as an election worker, a person must be a U.S citizen and a qualified voter of the territory of the election.

Requirements to become an Election Worker

An individual who is interested in working at a Vote Center may sign up with the Harris County Clerk's Office Elections Department.

Individuals are also encouraged to contact one of the major political parties for possible nomination to work as a presiding or alternate election judge. Nominations are made in June, so please contact the party as soon as possible.

In Texas, by law, the presiding election judges are empowered to hire their Election Day staff. Thus, an individual who is interested in working at a Vote Center may also directly contact the presiding chair of their precinct to volunteer their services. To find out who the precinct chair is for your precinct please click HERE.

Apply Now

Bilingual Election Workers

Individuals who speak and read Spanish, Vietnamese, or Chinese, in addition to English, are encouraged to apply to work on Election Day by choosing the "Apply Now" button and submitting the completed form. Bilingual Clerks are needed to support election judges in their efforts to comply with state and federal laws pertaining to language assistance at the Vote Center.

Apply Now

Election Training

Harris County Clerk's Office Elections Department provides comprehensive instruction and documentation prior to every election. In our Vote Center, Election Workers serve as the face of the Department, providing best-in-class customer service. We are committed to supporting our Election workers with the training and resources they need to successfully serve Harris County voters.

Sign Up for a Class Today

All Election Judges and Clerks are required to complete a 4-hour, in-person training class to work the November 8 General Election. This class will include over three hours of hands-on instruction. Following training, Judges will be required to complete a test and achieve a score of at least 80%. 

Training Information

Student Election Worker

High school students 16 years of age and older may serve as election clerks in Texas elections. High School Election Clerks must attend training, are paid for their service, and receive an excused absence from school.

    How do I become a Student Election Worker

    The purpose of Student Election Workers is two-fold:

    • to introduce students to the electoral process and inspire them with an interest in their government, and
    • to provide election authorities with an additional resource of persons who can serve at the Vote Center.

    Students interested in serving as election clerks must:

    • Be 16 years of age or older on Election Day
    • Be enrolled in a public, private, or qualified home school
    • Be a U.S. Citizen
    • Have consent of their parent or legal guardian and their school principal (or parent/legal guardian for home-schooled students)
    • Attend training classes prior to Election Day

    Accept or Decline Placement

    Presiding Judge appointees should complete the first section of the online form as soon as the Notice of Placement is received from the Clerk's office.

    The remaining sections of the online form may be completed by the Presiding Judge when the judge chooses their clerks, including bilingual clerks (if applicable). For Vote Center requiring bilingual clerks, judges should make every effort to fill those positions to ensure compliance with Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act. All election workers are required to attend training.

    Note: Judges should check their spam folder if they are expecting an e-mail correspondence from our office. 

    Election Day Supplies

    Presiding Judges are required to pick-up their Election Equipment prior to Early Voting and Election Day. For more information, contact the election's office at (713) 755-6965. 

    Election Worker Q&A

    How does Harris County place election workers?

    There are various types of elections that require different election worker placement methods. Depending on the election type, the process of placement requires nomination, appointment, and placement. Additionally, procedures vary depending on placement in Early Voting or Election Day. When Harris County is responsible for placement, it gives preference to appointed historical workers with a second preference to appointed precinct chairs.

    Countywide Elections (no State or County Officers):

    Early Voting: Harris County selects and places.

    Election Day: Political Parties nominate, Commissioners Court appoints, Harris County places appointed judges.

    Countywide Elections for State or County Officers:

    Early Voting: Political parties nominate, Harris County places.

    Election Day: Political Parties nominate, Commissioners Court appoints, Harris County places appointed judges.

    Primary Elections:

    Early Voting: Political parties nominate and place.

    Election Day: Political parties nominate and place.

    Elections for other political jurisdictions (i.e., School districts, cities, MUDS):

    Early Voting and Election Day: Harris County selects and places.

    How are election worker complaints handled?

    Election Judges or Clerks may be relieved of duty for any of the following:

    • Intimidating, threatening or coercing Voters • Influencing a Voter’s vote
    • Unlawfully assisting a Voter • Unlawfully divulging the way a Voter has voted
    • Unlawfully revealing voter information
    • Unlawfully permitting or preventing deposit of a Ballot
    • Making terroristic threats
    • Official oppression, including sexual harassment
    • Falsifying hours on a time sheet
    • Failure to secure voting equipment (Duos, Controllers, Scans, ePollBooks) properly
    • Failure to treat Election Workers and Voters with respect, including using racist language or engaging in political commentary
    • Repeated failure to comply with voting procedures covered in training
    • Failure to allow high ESS (or whomever is assigned) to update the wait-time tool or providing false information in the tool
    • Failure to follow the laws, rules, and procedures of the state of Texas and/or of Harris County

    Procedure for removing Election Workers

    1. Harris County Clerk's Office Elections Department Staff member will seek confirmation of allegations.
    2. If the complaint is confirmed, Harris County staff member may issue a warning or termination (depending on severity).
    3. If a worker engages in conduct for which they have been warned for a second time, the worker may be removed from the assignment.
    4. Workers who exhibit threatening behavior or make derogatory, racist, sexist, or homophobic statements at the Vote Center may be immediately removed.
    5. Complaints, warnings, and terminations will be logged for review of future appointments.
    6. In elections where parties nominate Election Workers, Harris County will advise the appropriate political party of the warning or removal.
    7. For Election Day, Election Worker issues will be discussed with the political party who nominated them, and they will seek agreement on removal.

    Note: During Early Voting, neither the PJ nor the AJ has the authority to fire any Clerk. The Harris County Clerk's Office Elections Department staff must be notified and consulted regarding any allegations of wrongdoing by a Clerk. The The Harris County Clerk will determine the necessary course of action will advise the caller of same.

    When will election workers be notified of appointment or placement?

    Appointment Letter

    In elections in which Commissioners Court appoints Election Day judges, appointed judges will be sent a notice of appointment within 20 days of appointment. The notice will contain the appointment term.

    Notice of Intent to Place

    In most elections (except runoff elections and special elections in which the window to hire is very narrow), Harris County may send a preliminary notice to election workers with their intent to place them in the upcoming election. The intent to place will have as much information as is available at the time the intent is determined, such as:

    • Vote Center (location may change as availability is determined)
    • For Election Day judges, a base quantity of clerks that can be hired (this number may change after turnout analysis is concluded and will be updated in the placement letter)
    • Recruitment contact information

    Placement Letter

    Placement letters will be sent to all workers which Harris County places (Election Day judges, Early Voting Judges, and Early Voting clerks) within 3 business days of completion of all the following events:

    1. Vote Centers have been approved by Commissioners Court or approving authority.
    2. Logic & Accuracy (L&A) test has been completed (L&A is due by the 45th day prior to Election Day).
    3. All information needed to include in the placement letter is available (see list below):
      1. Quantity of clerks that can be hired
      2. Alternate Judge with contact information (if one is placed yet)
      3. Rate of pay for assigned position
      4. Vote Center location name, address, and a phone number, if available
      5. Training Information
      6. Judge expectations
      7. Equipment allocation
      8. Recruiter contact information
      9. Supply Handout information
      10. Drop-off information

    Note: Placement letters may be delayed in jurisdictional elections when cancellations affect Vote Center selection and distribution of equipment and clerk allocations. Delays may also occur depending on the availability of IT to configure letter sending applications.

    What kind of interactions should I anticipate with the Harris County Recruitment coordinator?

    Recruitment coordinators will attempt to reach all Harris County placed workers to confirm the following items:

    • Availability
    • Receipt of placement letter
    • Communicate requirements and follow-up to confirm:
      • Acceptance of assignment
      • Training
      • Hiring clerks, including bilinguals (for Election Day judges)
      • A1 Personnel sign-up
      • Supply pick-up scheduling
      • Vote Center setup
      • Election night return

    Recruitment coordinators are able to assist with the submission of availability forms, scheduling workers into training or supply pick-up, finding clerks to assist (including bilinguals), and other recruitment-related activities.

    What are the training requirements?

    Election worker training requirements may vary depending on election type. Typically, paid training is required in-person during a 4 hour class. Training classes will be available multiple areas where the election is being held and on multiple dates (including weekdays and weekends). Full courses will cover procedural and legal elements of the following topics:

    • Equipment
    • Notices/postings
    • Forms
    • Qualifying the voters
    • Voting procedures
    • ID requirements
    • Voter assistance
    • ADA
    • Opening the Vote Center
    • Closing the Vote Center
    • And more, including opportunities to ask questions

    Note: Harris County may periodically offer modified training to more experienced judges (i.e., online, once a year test-out option).

    What kind of support can I expect when on duty working Early Voting or Election Day?

    Harris County will provide a help desk specific to election workers to support their calls while they are at their vote center. The staffing for this help desk will be scaled according to the size of the election. Election workers dial one number and choose from a menu to speak with any of the following departments:

    • Early Voting Recruitment (for personnel related issues)
    • Election Day Recruitment (for personnel related issues)
    • Payroll
    • Training (all procedural, forms or equipment related questions)
    • Technical Assistance (equipment service requests)
    • Supplies
    • Locations
    • Voter Registration
    • ADA
    • Legal Line (poll watcher and electioneering issues)

    Harris County will provide field technicians who will stop at their assigned vote centers throughout Early Voting and Election Day to assist with technical issues or supply requests. A technician may be dispatched for assistance on-demand based on a judge’s request to the help desk’s technical assistance line.

    What can I expect during Supply pick-up for Election Day judges?

    Harris County will offer appointment times for presiding judges to pick up their supplies. The link to schedule this appointment is available in the presiding judge placement letter. Typically, pick-ups take between 30 minutes and an hour. The earliest pick-up appointments tend to take longer for multiple factors, including high traffic from judges showing up earlier than their initial appointments.

    Presiding Judges will pick up a variety of items that should be stored within a vehicle (not in the bed of a truck) and should be able to be promptly secured in an air-conditioned and locked environment.

    Harris County will offer support at the exit to assist in taking the supplies to the judge’s vehicle. Presiding Judges are not paid an hourly wage for this event, but rather is covered in the $100 stipend which covers all activities performed by the Presiding Judge outside of working Election Day.

    What can I expect during election night drop-off?

    Presiding Judges are responsible for the prompt delivery of election supplies to Harris County within two hours of the Vote Center closing. Presiding Judges may designate someone to drop off for them if needed.

    Harris County may offer one central drop-off location or multiple rally sites, depending on logistic determinations for that election. Drop-off time may vary depending on the number of judges dropping off at the same time at the designated drop-off location or the quantity of time it takes to work with judges who did not follow the procedure and will need to fill out missing forms or run missing tapes.

    Presiding Judges will be provided a copy of the supplies to return in the training manual, supply kit, and through an email reminder. All items that have housed ballots, including ballot bags, ballot boxes, scans, Provisional storage, or other emergency slot ballot storage, must be returned.

    Harris County expects that all logs, chain of custody, and forms be signed and filled out completely by the election judge or required party (i.e., a voter for voter section).

    When can I expect payment for my work?

    Harris County Commissioners Court contracted with A1 Personnel for election worker payment. Harris County will receive compensation sheets and enter them expeditiously. Worker hours will be sent to A1 Personnel for payment. A1 Personnel may take longer to process payroll when processing a higher quantity of election workers. Training may often not be compensated until after the election is worked.

    Harris County has established certain expectations for the number of hours that may be submitted. If hours are worked beyond the expected hours, approval for extended hours may be requested with the reason for the request. Harris County will consider all requests and may compensate additional hours if warranted.

    Presiding Judges should not add any additional time for setup, supply handout, staffing, or any other non-Election Day activity since the $100 stipend covers those activities. During Early Voting, all workers may be compensated for setting up, but on Election Day, when less equipment is needed per Vote Center, only the Alternate Judge and 1 clerk may assist and be paid to help set up. If more assistance is needed, it should be requested in advance with an explanation for the need.

    FINAL NOTE: Nothing in this Q&A prohibits Harris County from adjusting/amending practices, as needed, as long as they are in compliance with the Texas Election Code.

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