High school students who are 16 years of age or older now have the opportunity to participate in the electoral process by serving as elections clerks at the vote center during Early Voting or on Election Day. A student who is at least 16 years of age and who is enrolled in a public or private high school or home school and has the consent of the principal (or parent/legal guardian in charge of education in home school) may serve as an election clerk. The elections officials must receive written authorization from the student's parent or guardian for the student to serve in the election for which he or she is appointed. This program is designed to provide students with a greater awareness of the electoral process and the rights and responsibilities of voters. The students will assist their local election officials by filling positions at vote center during the Early Voting period or on Election Day and working under the direction of the vote center's presiding judge.
What are the Benefits of Serving as an Election Clerk?
Some of the benefits of serving as an election clerk are:
- Election workers are paid hourly for their service.
- Students will gain practical experience by serving their community and state.
- Experience as an election clerk is an impressive addition to a resumé or college application.
- Students can take part in a rewarding activity while learning about the democratic process.
- Students can earn community service hours for school.
What are the Responsibilities of an Election Clerk?
Working under the supervision of the judge, student election clerks may assist with the following duties:
- Organizing the vote center before the polls open.
- Ensuring that qualified voters are permitted to vote.
- Checking in and processing voters.
- Distributing ballots to registered voters.
- Providing instructions and assistance to voters.
- Answering voters’ questions.
- Explaining the use of the voting equipment.
- Maintaining order in the vote center on Election Day.
- Obtaining results after the polls are closed and closing the vote center.
What are the Required Qualifications of an Election Clerk?
To qualify as a student election clerk, the student must:
- Be at least 16 years old on Election Day;
- Be enrolled in a public, private, or qualified home school;*
- Be a U.S. citizen;
- Have consent of his/her parent or legal guardian to work the election;
- Have consent of his/her school principal* (or parent/legal guardian for home-schooled students); and
- Complete any required election worker training program.
Can a student election worker serve as an interpreter?
Yes. When election workers are communicating with a voter who cannot communicate in English, a student election worker may communicate with the voter in a language the voter and the clerk understands.
How will the election officials inform the school that the student actually worked on Election Day?
Serving as an election clerk is now included in the Texas Education Code’s definition of “excused absence.” Student election clerks are entitled to compensation in the same manner as other election clerks. The election official should give each student worker documentation in the form of a time sheet, pay stub, or other letter or form showing that the student served as an election worker and the hours worked. Ultimately, however, it is up to the student to ensure that the school is given the proper documentation in order to have an excused absence.
How many student election clerks can serve at each vote center?
Not more than two student election clerks may serve at a vote center, except that not more than four student election clerks may serve at any countywide vote center.