It's a big election year for Manassas with the local general election taking place in May, the Senate Congressional Primary this summer and the national election in November.
According to Vice Chair for the Manassas Electoral Board Russ Harrison, Manassas needed 30 poll workers or election officials to run Super Tuesday's election on March 6, but says the city will probably need twice that number in November for the presidential election.
According to Chairman for the Manassas Electoral Board Jack B. Slimp, Jr., the ballots for an election have to be prepared 45 days in advance and with back to back elections in March and May, and possibly again in June or August for the Senate Congressional Primary, the electoral board and registrars office will be busy this year.
"The bottom line is this is going to be a tight election year and we are understaffed," Slimp said.
Poll workers are paid for their time, but it is not easy, Harrison said. It requires a full day commitment. The election day starts at 5:00 am and usually doesn't end until after 9:00 p.m. Training is also required prior to the election. Still, most see the service as a civic responsibility, Harrison said.
"Democracy requires people who know how to run elections, and Manassas is fortunate to have a great team of workers who are very good at their jobs," he said. "But poll workers rarely get attention or recognition, despite doing a very difficult and important job that requires long hours and very close attention to detail."
"The only time anyone ever remembers them is when they mess up, which our team rarely does," Harrison said. "They play a vital, difficult and often overlooked role in maintaining our healthy Democracy."
Slimp said the city has about 80 to 90 election officials trained and ready to work the polls this year, but jurisdictions are always in need of more trained poll workers.
The city's website says a person is eligible to work as an election official if they are a registered voter in Virginia, do not hold elected office, and are not related to or employed by an elected official.
Election officials are paid for their work on election day as well as for training sessions held prior to each election.
Duties include election day precinct preparation to include setting up voting equipment; checking in voters; demonstrating voting procedures to voters; closing precinct and certify vote totals. You must be available to work the entire day and be able to work the May 1st General Election, the June 12th Primary (if held), and the November 6th General Election.
For more information or to submit an application to become an election official, visit here.