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 polling place 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 polling places during the Early Voting period or on Election Day and working under the direction of the polling place presiding judge.
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.
Working under the supervision of the judge, student election clerks may assist with the following duties:
- Organizing the polling place 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 polling place on Election Day.
- Obtaining results after the polls are closed and closing the polling place.
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.
- Have your parent or guardian sign the Parent/Legal Guardian Permission portion.
- Have your school principal sign the School Principal Authorization portion. Also, take the proper steps to ensure that your absence from school in order to work during Early Voting or on Election Day will be excused.
- Send the application to the El Paso County Elections Department, 500 E. San Antonio Ave., Suite #314, El Paso, Texas, 79901. Try to send application at least 60 days prior to Election Day (even though there is no statutory deadline).
- If selected, attend the required election training class prior serving as a clerk. This training provides all the necessary information and knowledge to be a successful elections clerk.
- Work at the polls as assigned during Early Voting or on Election Day.
- A school district may excuse a student for the purpose of serving as an Early Voting and/or Election Day clerk for a maximum of two days in a school year.
- Example: A student could work two weekdays during Early Voting for an election held on Saturday, May 9, 2015, and then also work on Election Day, as the student would only have to be excused from school for two days
- Up to four student election clerks may work at a single Early Voting site at a time, and up to two student clerks may work at an Election Day polling place at a time.
Remember…When you turn 18 you will have reached the age to serve as a regular election clerk or judge!
For more information about elections, contact the El Paso County Elections Department at 915-546-2154.