Democracy wouldn’t be possible without the vigilance of election clerks on precinct front lines guarding the integrity of the electoral system. From start to finish, election clerks educate, inform, assist and supervise voters who are performing their civic duty at the polls. The election clerk also helps recruit volunteers to assist at the polls to keep voter lines moving. If you’re interested in seasonal work around election time and enjoy public service, being an election clerk might be a perfect job for you.
A friendly demeanor, enthusiasm and genuine interest in helping others are important attributes for the job of election clerk. Your responsibilities would entail heavy interaction with the public. Verbal, interpersonal and organizational communication skills are critical in understanding questions and relaying correct information about voting. Other duties include explaining things like voter registration, absentee balloting and ID requirements at the poll. Multilingual speaking ability specific to the languages most commonly spoken in your community is advantageous.
Election clerks must learn quickly and retain information to keep up with current and pending changes in local, state and federal laws governing elections. When candidates running for office stop by, they may need guidance in filling out the filing forms and understanding campaign rules. Absentee ballots must be thoroughly vetted to verify authenticity and ferret out attempts at voting twice, which is a serious crime. Allegations of election tampering trigger long investigations and distrust of voting results.
Being an election clerk affords an opportunity to use your excellent clerical skills and organizational ability. You can expect to spend many hours processing voter registration applications, inputting new names to the voter registration database and removing names of those who moved out of the precinct since the last election. Absentee ballots are mailed out and reviewed upon return. Strong data processing skills are required to keep up with the workload of updating records and recording payment of filing fees. The goal is to ensure an accurate accounting of registered voters in each precinct.
Preparing for an election involves detailed planning and collaboration with the election board and other election officials. When the big day arrives, the election clerk springs into action at the polls. Duties of opening the poll include helping to set up flags, direction signs, supplies, ballot boxes and voting equipment. When voters arrive, it’s the duty of election clerks to examine voter IDs to determine if the voter is qualified to vote at that poll. Other essential duties include obtaining voter signatures on the voter registration list, providing ballots, explaining procedures, collecting ballots and providing “I Voted” stickers. Later, the election clerk helps close the poll at the designated time. Ballots are then processed and an official election report is prepared.
Source: The Houston Chronicle