For elections to run smoothly, it is critical that states and localities recruit sufficient numbers of poll workers. They perform a wide range of essential duties, ranging from setting up polling stations and checking in voters to counting ballots and publishing results. But since 2020, the country has faced poll worker shortages amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and concerns of violence against elections employees and volunteers based on myths of voter fraud.
Now, proponents of the false claim that the 2020 election was “stolen” are recruiting fellow Big Lie supporters to be poll workers. While state and local election officials cannot exclude poll workers based on their political beliefs, they can and should take reasonable steps to ensure that poll workers follow the law and lawful instructions. Election workers must perform their duties impartially, follow the law, and do not disrupt or interfere with voting and election administration.
Fortunately, states already have many guardrails in place to prevent those who seek to undermine elections from qualifying as poll workers.
Created by the Brennan Center and All Voting is Local, the state-by-state guides below list existing rules and constraints, along with further actions election officials can take to block this threat to election integrity.