Poll Workers are paid volunteers that expedite the voting process and allow it to run smoothly. Though most of the voting process has become electronic over the past ten years, poll workers are still required to perform some manual functions. I was 16 years of age when I voluunteered to work for the Minish Poll in Commerce (Jackson County, Georgia's largest poll). Although you must be 18 to vote, you can work the poll (although not the pole) underage, with your parents' permission of course. The Minish Poll, the poll that I worked at, is located in downtown COmmerce right next to the fire department.

The polling process is fairly intuitive. Polling simply involves verifying a voter's identity, notating their name in a log book, programming their voting preferences onto an electronic card, and handing them the card so they can insert it into a voting computer and vote. I was one of the workers who logged individual voters into the registry.

There is some training required to understand the operation of the poll, and most poll workers must receive briefings before setting up and conducting the poll (in Jackson County, we showed up and received the briefings from the local probate judge). Poll working is a great activity for young high school and college students, because it provides young citizens a ground level view of local political processes as well as giving them a little spending money.

In a county, poll sections are usually districted by jurisdiction of the county commissioners or other geographical means. There were about seven polling locations other than the Commerce / Minish Poll in Jackson County in 2004. Working the poll, overall, is an educational, enjoyable, and relatively stress-free event. Those new to the process can easily rely on the expertise of those who have been longtime poll workers, because many poll workers have been doing the job for twenty or more years. The pay is comparable to retail store hourly pay, which is not fantastic, but it is a decent deal for young students. I found out about working the poll in Georgia by attending Georgia Boys' State, a one-week summer camp for high school students at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, GA. There are several other ways to learn how to work the poll; these include simply asking a poll worker when you go to vote, or inquiring your local courthouse about opportunities to work for elections. In an average year, there are between one to four elections. Local polls are always wanting for volunteers, as well, so you can be sure that you will have an opportunity if you volunteer for it.