Precinct Officials

The elections process needs many people involved. Each election involves almost 550 people working at the polling places, doing a variety of jobs - all concerned with furthering the democratic process. Do you want to help? Here's what you need to know:

Qualifications (NC General Statutes 163-41)

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 the 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..."

Anyone meeting the qualifications, should apply online.

How Appointed

Precinct election 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 voting 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. Only one member of a family may serve as a precinct election official within a given precinct.

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.

Judges

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.

Assistants

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 Jude and 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. ESA’s are responsible for returning election night results to the central office for tabulation. Each ESA must be at a precinct at the close of polls. Use of a reliable personal vehicle is required. Election Staff Assistants must attend required poll worker training plus a required ESA specific training.

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 6:30AM until 7:30PM
  • Day before the election (if possible) - set up the precinct and check machines
  • Officials must be in the voting place at 6:00AM and remain until all votes have been counted and documents signed - usually by 8:30PM. General Statute 163-47 requires that precinct officials remain at the voting place for the entire day. Assistants may work no less than 7-hour shifts. No precinct election officials may leave the voting place except in extreme emergencies.

Special Training

GS 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. They receive training concerning specific issues affecting the upcoming election. Precinct election 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. Precinct officials are notified by mail of the training dates.

Compensation for Officials
Official Compensation
Chief Judge $180
Judge $130
Assistant $100
Election Staff Assistant $200 + mileage (paid at current County rate per mile)
Required Training $20