Poll Worker Training Class and Resources
Welcome to the Poll Worker Training Class and Resources page, your one-stop-shop for poll worker training information. Here, you can learn more about training classes conducted at City Hall and access a variety of supplementary training resources.
We encourage you to review all the resources available to ensure you feel confident in your ability to perform your responsibilities on Election Day successfully. If you have questions about any of the information or resources in this section, or if you would like additional assistance, please contact us at (415) 554-4395.
The Department conducts approximately 130 in person training classes at City Hall before every election to ensure all poll workers are properly equipped with the knowledge and preparation required to conduct a successful election. Poll workers are required to attend one training class prior to every election, which typically lasts between 1.5 and 3.5 hours, depending on Election Day assignment.
In person training classes cover the following topics:
- Rights of voters, including language and other access rights for voters with specific needs
- Correct setup and operation of voting equipment
- Voting procedures, including standard, vote-by-mail, and provisional voting, with a section that explains the issuing of ballots based on voters’ language preferences
- Procedures for documenting and transferring custody of ballots and other election materials after the polls close
After confirming your availability to serve as a poll worker on Election Day, you will be mailed a letter confirming the official time and date of your assigned training class. You can also login to your Poll Worker Profile to confirm. If you cannot attend your assigned training class, please contact us at least two days before the class, and we will do our best to reschedule your training to meet your needs.
Poll Worker Practice Lab
All poll workers are invited to attend Poll Worker Practice Lab sessions, which are designed to offer poll workers additional hands-on experience with voting equipment and procedures prior to Election Day. If you are a new poll worker, the Practice Labs are an opportunity to gain more practice and confidence going into your first election. If you are an experienced poll worker, the practice labs are an opportunity for you to share your knowledge with other attendees and gain additional experience. We will send you information about the date and time of the practice lab with other details about your training class.
Bilingual Poll Worker Training
For bilingual poll workers who will be assisting voters in Chinese, Spanish, and Filipino, a supplementary online bilingual training course is available. The training allows to gain additional practice serving voters who prefer to receive assistance in their native language, and reviews common election terms, resources available at the polling places for non-English speakers, and polling place procedures for bilingual poll workers. The course features a voice-over in the target language, interactive activities in English and the target language, quizzes and a final test. After you attend your required in person training class and complete the supplemental online bilingual poll worker training, the Department will add $10 to your stipend.
The online bilingual poll worker training will be made available online on this page approximately one month before Election Day. To access the training, log into your Poll Worker Profile. To accommodate poll workers who do not have computer access, the Department designates days when poll workers may complete the online training at the Department of Elections office.
To ensure you are prepared to assist voters on Election Day, you are encouraged to review the online videos in this section.
Review the Poll Worker Mission –to protect voter rights, serve voters with respect, and offer assistance to all voters. Poll Worker Mission
Review the steps for completing polling place opening procedures. Opening Procedures and Setting up an Accessible Polling Place
Learn how to set up two voting machines. The Insight machine, a paper-based optical scan voting machine scans the marks that a voter makes on the paper ballot when the voter inserts the ballot, and counts the votes electronically. The Edge machine, an accessible voting machine, allows voters with disabilities to vote privately and independently using either a touchscreen or audio ballot. How to Set Up Voting Machines
Learn how to process standard voters whose names are listed in the Roster of Voters and have not been issued a ballot prior to Election Day. How to process a Standard Voter
Learn how to process vote-by-mail voters who have been issued a ballot prior to Election Day. How to process a Vote-by-Mail Voter s
Learn how to process provisional voters, whose eligibility cannot be determined at the polling place. How to process a Provisional Voter
Review the process for transferring ballots from the Insight machine to a secure container. How to conduct a ballot transfer
Review the steps for completing polling place closing procedures.Closing Procedures
Additional Training Resources
This manual contains all material reviewed during your Poll Worker Training Class, including Inspector instructions, Clerk job cards, and much more. Remember to bring your Poll Worker Training Manual to the polling place on Election Day and follow the procedures. If you have questions on Election Day, call the Department’s Election Center at the number listed on the back cover of your manual. Poll Worker Manual (PDF)
Please consult the glossary for common election terms in Chinese, Spanish, and Filipino. This glossary is also located in the back of your Poll Worker Manual for reference on Election Day. Election Terms Glossary (PDF)
Test your knowledge and ensure you are ready for Election Day by taking the Online Review Quiz. Online Review Quiz
Poll Worker Newsletter
Poll Worker Post Newsletters allow the Department to stay connected with our poll workers throughout the year. These newsletters pave the way to share updates, articles, statistics, and highlight new election laws.
- Spring 2018 – Spring has Sprung (PDF)
- Fall 2017– Welcome Fall! (PDF)
- Summer 2017 – Summer Ready! (PDF)
- Spring 2017 – Hello Spring! (PDF)
- Winter 2016 – Thank You! (PDF)
- Fall 2016 – Mark your calendar (PDF)
- Summer 2016 – Thank You! (PDF)
- Spring 2016 – Greetings (PDF)
- Winter 2015 – Poll Worker Stats (PDF)
Poll Worker Feedback
Your dedication makes Election Day possible for San Francisco voters and your feedback is very important to us. You are invited to take the Post-Election Poll Worker Survey and tell us about your experience being a poll worker. Comments and suggestions help us improve training practices and materials, Election Day materials, and recruitment efforts. We want to make your service as a poll worker an enjoyable and memorable experience, and we look forward to receiving your feedback.