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Help America Vote Day: Here's how you can become a poll worker for the 2022 midterms

Iowa Sec. of State Paul Pate said his office launched "an aggressive effort" to recruit poll workers in 2020. Here's how you can help.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The United States midterm elections are set for Nov. 8, 2022, meaning voting locations in Iowa are in need of volunteers to work the polls. 

Tuesday also marked Help America Vote Day, an initiative launched by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to encourage Americans to volunteer and engage in the election process.

In order to be one, you must fulfill certain requirements, which are different in Iowa and Illinois.

Iowa

  • Must be registered to vote in Iowa.
  • Be at least 17 years old. 
  • Be a resident of the county you serve in.
  • Complete the required training.

To sign up, you can head to the state's poll worker site.

Illinois

  • You must be registered to vote in Illinois
  • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • Political affiliation required
  • Term requirement of 2 years
  • You must be a resident of the precinct for the 30 days before the election
  • You must complete the required training
  • Students with citizenship who are juniors or seniors in good standing enrolled in a public or private secondary school; may work with written permission from a parent or guardian and school principal and must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0

Individual counties also have other, more specific requirements.

Signup information and applications are specific to each county and can be found through your county's Board of Elections

Rock Island County has information and an application form available on its Election Judges web page.

Iowa Sec. of State Paul Pate said poll workers are "crucial" when it comes to Election Day. 

"They are the unsung heroes and the real heroes, if you will," Pate said. "Because we've got almost 1,700 voting precincts in Iowa. And you can't operate those without those kinds of folks. And it's basically, it's the foundation of the whole elections process."

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Pate said his office launched "an aggressive effort" to recruit poll workers in 2020 for the presidential election. Before then, the state would recruit around 10,000 people to work the polls. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic "put a real spin on things," according to Pate. 

"We've identified over 17,000 Iowans who are willing to learn more and offer their services," he said. 

So, what kind of experience does a volunteer need before they can be a poll worker in Iowa? Pate said it doesn't matter too much. 

"We're looking for people who are energetic in the sense that they want to help," he said. "And there's basically a job or a task for anybody who wants to be a part of it." 

The commitment is roughly 12 hours on Election Day. Poll workers are responsible for helping residents cast their vote, guide voters through the process and guard the integrity of elections. 

Another plus is that you can get paid to work on Election Day. The Secretary of State's website says rates vary from county to county. 

RELATED: Midterm elections 2022: Everything you need to know about voting in Illinois, Iowa

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