Now that election news is constantly in your ears with all the presidential buzz, I thought I’d tell you about a really simple way to make a few hundred bucks each year. Have you ever thought about working the polls on election day?
I always used to think that you had to “know someone” if you wanted to be an election poll worker. You know, connected to a friend or something. That’s simply not true! I just got my training class letter in the mail today (each training certification lasts 2 years) and I’ll be working on November 3rd for my 8th consecutive year as a worker, helping and greeting hundreds of my fellow New Jersey voters once again. It’s one of the best ways I know to make some extra cash and actually perform a civil service that helps the community.
There are several reasons this is a great side hustle. First, the job itself is easy to do. Second, you get to sit and chat with your fellow poll workers as well as the voters that come in. Third, the candidates typically drop off donuts and other goodies for you to munch on throughout the day. Good conversation + food sounds like a party! Plus, of course, you get paid.
This activity is just perfect for a retired guy like me, but it’s just as sweet for anyone who wants to earn some easy money and has the free time to spend performing this needed service. If you are a student, perfect! If you are able to rearrange your schedule and have a Tuesday off from a regular job (or self-employment), just as good! If unemployed, here’s your chance to earn a bit to help you out.
Let me give you some of the details. Practically anyone can do this job as long as they meet a few very simple requirements:
- You must be a registered voter.
- You must meet the minimum age requirement (varies slightly by state but in most cases it is just 18 years of age).
- You must be a resident of the state and town of the polls you are working in (exemptions can be made for college students attending school away from their hometown).
- You must be a declared party member and not a registered independent.
Simply contact your local county board of elections for a form to apply and you will be notified when you are accepted.
Elections here in NJ are held every June (primary elections) and November. Occasionally, there are some special elections or referendums held, but it’s not every year. The potential to earn $800/year does exist.
Perhaps that doesn’t sound like a whole lot of money to you, but I like to think of it as a nice little bonus and an easy way to earn a weekend away or a special evening of fine dining followed by a show. And it really is a fun and interesting time too.
Your training time (unpaid) which will last about two hours is held locally in your county. There you will learn all the responsibilities and be given any materials you will need. Your duties are to set up the voting machines (not much more than plugging them in where I live) and posting all the rules and regulations around the area and outside the front doors of the voting location. You will learn how to assist everyone in their voting if needed, as well as identifying them in the voting records and have them sign in the book.
After the voting day is completed, you will shut down the machine and collect the records for return to the local voting offices in your town. Then, magically, in a few weeks you receive your paycheck!
There is plenty of time to chat with your fellow co-workers and neighbors as they come in to vote. It is a long day timewise as here in NJ the polls are open from 6 am to 8 pm in general elections, but you do get to take a break and have lunch and dinner. I brown bag it, of course, to save that expense! In fact, I even get some time to read and work on notes for an upcoming blog post or two.
When it comes to your own vote, if you’re at your regular polling location, it’s simple to do on your break. Otherwise, you can use a mail-in ballot as I do (anyone can get one from their county). I get it several weeks prior to election day and return it with my selections, and that way I don’t have to rush home to my regular polling location on my break.
Oh, and there is one other benefit for a nosy person like me. You get to see the total results in the district you’re working as soon as you shut down the machine!
So if this sounds like a great way to earn yourself an extra financial boost, contact your local county board of elections now. Even if they don’t have open positions at the moment, you can get on the list for future openings. Every bit of money you earn (or save) adds up and can be used for achieving one of your goals or simply giving yourself a much needed splurge.
Have you found any other simple ways to serve your community? Have you ever worked the polls in your town?
Image courtesy of coward_lion at freedigitalphotos.net (with changes)