Be a North Carolina Guardian of Democracy

6 mins read

What’s the difference between Poll Worker & Poll Watcher?

Poll Worker:
Nonpartisan, Paid (Clerks, Judges, Inspectors, Checker, Precinct Worker)

Poll Watcher:
Partisan, Volunteer (Observers, Monitors, Challengers)



To be a poll worker (Election Official, Chief Judge, Precinct Judge, Election Staff) You must be 18+, registered to vote in North Carolina, Political affiliation generally required, be a resident of state & precinct for 30+ days prior to the election, complete required training, exam & certification. 


Chief Judge
Chief Judge is head official and in charge of contacting voting place contacts and precinct officials to make arrangements for each election. The Chief Judge is responsible for handling Election Day activities, delegating duties, as well as delivering returns to the BOE office on election night. Chief Judges are paid $200;

The Judges work closely with the Chief Judge and are responsible for conducting the election in the event of the Chief Judge’s absence;

Provisional/Transfer Assistant
The Provisional/Transfer Assistant is responsible for handling provisional and transfer voters. They use the Precinct Automation Device to assist voters so typing and customer service skills are required;

Equipment Assistant
The Equipment Assistant must be comfortable working with touch screen machines and understand mechanical terminology to perform duties as instructed;

The Assistants serve when needed and at the discretion and direction of the Chief Judge. They receive instruction from their Chief Judge prior to Election Day.

Multipartisan Assistance Team (MAT)
Some voters require assistance when voting their mail-in absentee ballot because they are unable to either find witnesses, vote their ballot, or mail in their ballot under their own power. In every county, an impartial team is available to visit facilities to provide assistance with mail-in absentee voting. MAT has  at least 2 voters of different political parties.


Chief Judge & Judges who work at the polls on Election Day are recommended by the 2 major political parties, and are appointed by the County Board of Elections. Judges are appointed in August of odd-numbered years and serve 2 years in their positions. Election Assistants are either recommended by their respective party to the Board of Elections Office, or they are recruited directly by the Board of Elections Office after completing application.

To sign up, contact your local board of elections here.

Approx DEADLINE to sign up to be a Chief Judge

Was August 2019. Can still sign up to be Election Assistant.


The chair of each political party in the county shall have the right to designate 2 observers to attend each voting place at each primary & election and such observers may, at the option of the designating party chair, be relieved during day of the primary/election after serving no less than 4 hours & provided the list required by this section to be filed by each chair contains the names of all persons authorized to represent such chair’s political party. Not more than 2 observers from same political party shall be permitted in voting enclosure at any time. Persons appointed as observers must be registered voters of county for which appointed & must have good moral character. During time allowed for voting in the voting place, only the following persons may enter the voting enclosure: an election official; an observer; a runner but only to the extent necessary to announce runner’s presence & receive the voter list; a person seeking to vote in that voting place on that day but only while in process of voting; a voter in that precinct while entering or explaining a challenge; a person authorized to assist a voter but  only while assisting that voter; minor children of voter under the age of 18, or minor children under 18 in the care of voter, but only while accompanying the voter; any other person determined by election officials to have an urgent need to enter the voting enclosure but only to the extent necessary to address that need.

Who is Authorized to Challenge a Voter’s Eligibility on Election Day?

On the day of a primary or election, at the time a registered voter offers to vote, any other registered voter of the precinct may exercise the right of challenge, and when he does so may enter the voting enclosure to make the challenge, but he shall retire therefrom as soon as the challenge is heard. 

Resources for North Carolina:

  • Retweetable Tweet with links for North Carolina here.
  • Shareable FB post & downloadable graphic here.
  • GoogleDoc here.

POLL WORKER (and Poll Watcher) Requirements & links to sign-up in All 50 States, STATE BY STATE Including:

  • Who is Authorised to Challenge a Voter’s Eligibility on Election Day? 
  • & Links to retweetable TWEETS & shareable FB Posts for each State
  • Twitter THREAD with links here.
  • Facebook shareable Album with downloadable graphics here.
  • On the Postcards for America website here.
  • On the Unhack the Vote Website here.

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Postcards for America gives you PC2As (Postcarders Calls to Action) on key bills, topics and issues so you have all the info you need to write your Reps about your concerns.
Addresses, background information and even Suggested Wording provided.

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