Apply to be an Election Official

Each year, the Arlington County Electoral Board appoints hundreds of citizens to work at the polls. We are looking for those who enjoy serving the public, possess detail-oriented skills, and will pledge to uphold state and federal laws to run fair, honest, and efficient elections.

Election Officer Requirements

  • You must be a registered Virginia voter.
  • You must be available from 5 am to 8 pm or later on Election Day.
  • You must not work for an elected office or someone who works for an elected officer.

Steps to Being an Election Officer

  1. Complete an online application (link below) to become an election officer. We have to verify your eligibility and process your application which can take up to a week.
  2. You will be emailed the appointment response form. Officers must be appointed each year by our Electoral Board. This form allows you to communicate your availability for particular elections, set your work preferences, and update your contact information. It is emailed once your application is processed and again each year in early March to gauge interest.
  3. You will receive an email with your assignment to a polling place. As each election approaches, you will receive an assignment for elections that you indicated you would like to work (based on Board approval and availability). In some elections, not all officers that have been appointed will necessarily by assigned.
  4. Your assignment will indicate the training you must complete. This varies from election to election and can range from a multi-hour class at a community center to a short online course. Your training will be customized to your work position, election work experience, the type of election, etc.

Ready to apply?

Apply to Work at the Polls

Please note: If you have already served as an election officer or completed an application, you do not need to apply again.  Email pollworkers@arlingtonva.us or call 703-228-3456 if you have questions.

Additional Common Questions

What steps are you taking to protect election officers from COVID-19?
The safety of election officers and voters is of paramount importance. We’ve held multiple elections during the pandemic and a recent survey of election officers showed 89% reported they felt the procedures and protective equipment supplied made them feel “as safe as could be expected.”  Working any election during the pandemic involves some risk that cannot be fully mitigated. If you are uncertain and/or feel you are at risk, we encourage you to sit out serving until conditions have changed. Click here to see our previous training on COVID-19 to see what precautions we have been taking to protect everyone.

What do election officers do? 
Election officers set up the precinct for the election including making sure equipment is operating properly and signage is put in place. On Election Day, they check in voters, distribute ballots, and provide assistance in using the voting machines. At the end of Election Day, election officers will tabulate results and clean up the polling place.

Are election officers paid?
Yes, election officers receive $175 for each election day worked. Each precinct also has a Chief and Assistant Chief Election Officer. Chiefs are paid $230, and Assistant Chiefs receive $200. Election Officers must work at least one general election before being considered for Chief or Assistant Chief positions.

I want to work early voting. How do I do that?
Early voting work is limited and election officers will be surveyed prior to each election for availability to assist. Number of locations, hours, and staff needed can vary from election to election. The best way to be eligible is to apply and work an election to gain experience. Experienced election officers are the most likely individuals to be selected to serve during early voting.

Do I have to live in Arlington County?
No, as long as you are a registered voter in Virginia, you can serve as an election officer in Arlington. We would encourage you to work the elections in your local jurisdiction, but sometimes we have special elections when other nearby jurisdictions do not and we draw upon workers from those jurisdictions if needed.