Poll Workers: Who Are They And What Do They Do?

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CULLMAN – Election Day is right around the corner and as we prepare to go out and cast our votes, there are others who are gearing up to take their proper places at designated polling locations throughout the area. Who are these poll workers and just exactly what do they do?

Poll workers are just like everyone else, they may be family members, friends or neighbors. Each worker is appointed and then trained thoroughly. The appointment of a person is done by a specific process and all are evaluated and considered for open positions.

“The heads of each party can turn in a list of names, this starts back in the primaries,” said Tammy Brown, Cullman County Judge of Probate. “Then the appointing board, which consists of the probate judge, the sheriff and the circuit clerk meet and from that list, we appoint the workers. Four workers required per poll. Sometimes we give them more, especially because there are write-in votes in the general election, some of the precincts have asked for an extra election worker just for that; and that’s fine. We try to accommodate them with everything.”

Poll workers are responsible for getting the voting machines up and running, and to ensure there are no issues with the equipment. They also check voter identification and provide the needed voting materials. They help with write-in votes, general assistance and maintain order within the polls. To make sure all the current poll workers were up to date on the latest information, laws and processes, the members of the Cullman County Probate Office hosted an educational seminar last Monday at City Hall.

“When you go to vote and you see those election workers there, remember that the law states that they must attend a school of instruction,” Brown explained. “So that is what we are doing today, having the required school of instruction, so they can work.”

Election workers must be at least 18 years of age. The youngest worker at this time is Miss Brittany Branch. Brittany is 19 years old and is preparing for her second year of poll work.

“I mark people that come in off the list and check their identification,” Branch said. “It’s mandatory we check IDs, even if you know the people in your precinct. We make sure we have their name written down and that they provide their signature and we check their ID again. I can do that stuff all day, and I plan to remain an election worker for a long time,” she giggled.

If you or someone you know would like more information about the election process or would like to know more about becoming an election worker, feel free to visit the Cullman County Probate Office online at www.cullmancourts.org/probatecourt.html or give them a call at 256- 775-4665.