Election Day Precinct Officials

Qualifications for Election Day Precinct Officials (§163-41)

The elections process involves an enormous amount of people working at the polling places and working in the Board of Elections office doing a variety of jobs. Do you want to help? Here is what you need to know:

Precinct Officials Appointment

Election Day Precinct Officials can be recommended by the political parties and are appointed by the Board of Elections for a two-year term; beginning in August of odd-numbered years and every two years thereafter.
Each polling place is staffed with a CHIEF JUDGE, two JUDGES and some ASSISTANTS. The Board of Elections appoints the Chief Judge based on political party and staff recommendations. The Judges and Assistants represent each political party.

  • Persons appointed...must be registered voters and residents of the county in which the precinct is located, of good repute and able to read & write.
  • "No person shall be eligible to serve as a precinct official...who holds any elective office under government of the United States or of North Carolina or any political subdivision thereof."
  • "No person shall serve...who is a candidate for nomination or election."
  • "No person shall be eligible...who holds any office in a state, congressional district, county, or precinct political party or political organization, or who is a manager or treasurer for any candidate or political party, provided...a precinct official can be a delegate to a political party convention."
  • The following categories of relatives are prohibited from serving as precinct officials of the same precinct: spouse, child, spouse of a child, sister or brother.
  • No precinct official who is the wife, husband, mother, father, son, daughter, brother or sister of any candidate for nomination or election may serve as precinct official during any primary or election in which such candidate participates...

Positions and Responsibilites

Chief Judge
The CHIEF JUDGE is the head precinct official and is in charge of contacting the polling place custodian and the other officials to make arrangements for each election. The Chief Judge is also responsible for handling Election Day activities, as well as picking up and returning Election Day supplies before and after each election.

The JUDGES work closely with the Chief Judge and are responsible for conducting the election. They must sign all official documents and resolve any challenges. The Chief Judge assigns all other duties.

Help Desk Official
The HELP DESK Official's sole responsibility is to manage the help desk responsibilities including, precinct transfers and provisional ballots. The most common scenarios are unreported moves, late voter registration applications and assisting voters with any questions they may have.

The ASSISTANTS serve when needed and at the discretion and direction of the Chief Judge.

Election Staff Assistants (ESA)
The ESA works closely with the Chief Judge and the Board of Elections staff and are responsible for several precincts on Election Day. ESA’s are required to follow a route truck on Monday prior to Election Day to ensure correct equipment is delivered and to deliver poll books. An ESA is the first contact for voting machine or tabulator problems on Election Day. Use of a reliable personal vehicle is required. Election Staff Assistants must attend required poll worker training plus a required ESA specific training.

One-Stop Workers
Early Voting Officials share responsibilities with checking in voters, issuing ballots, activating the ballot-marking device, managing the tabulator, reconciling the voter applications, and curbside voting during the hours the polls are open for early voting.

Special Information
There are approximately five elections scheduled in each two-year term. (Special Referenda and bond elections also may be called) The Chief Judge and two Judges are required to work each election. Assistants are allotted when needed.

  • Elections are usually held on Tuesdays.
  • All polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Election Day Precinct Officials must be at their appointed polling place at 6:00 am and remain until all votes have been counted and documents signed - usually by 8:30 pm. General Statute §163-47 requires that precinct officials remain at the voting place for the entire day. No Election Day Precinct Officials may leave the polling place except in extreme emergencies.

Special Training
§163-46 requires all officials to attend training sessions conducted by the Board of Elections prior to each major primary and general election. The Chief Judge and Judges are issued a Precinct Official Manual notebook at the required training session. Election Day Precinct Officials are paid to attend these training sessions in addition to their Election Day compensation. Training sessions are conducted the month prior to each primary and general election.

Compensation for Election Day Workers

Chief Judge $200
Judge $150
Help Desk Official $150
Assistant $120
Election Staff Assistant (ESA) $220 + mileage
Judges and Help Desk Officials Required Training $40
Election Staff Assistant (ESA) Required Training $20
Assistants Training $20