Virginia Civic Engagement Table’s nonpartisan Election Protection work is a year-round effort done in partnership with community members, state and national organizations, and local election administrators. All of this is made possible with help from hundreds of volunteers all across Virginia.
As a nonpartisan Election Protection volunteer, you’ll assist voters who encounter any issues or problems while trying to cast a ballot. COVID-19 has impacted our work in so many different ways and that includes Election Protection. More than ever, it is absolutely vital to our democracy that we ensure every voter has safe access to the ballot. We’ve also made a few adjustments to our volunteer program in the face of this public health crisis which includes providing PPE to all volunteers in the field and a roving option (driving between multiple polling places) available to volunteers on Election day.
A volunteer who would like to become a Poll Monitor acts as the eyes and ears of Election Protection. This individual may interact with voters as they enter and exit a polling location and is there to assist voters with any questions they may have as it relates to voting, reporting incidents they may witness, recording observations and/or assists with directing voters to one of the election protection hotlines for further assistance. Individuals who volunteer as a poll monitor can expect to be assigned up to 2 precinct assignments during their 4 or 5 hour shift. This is an Early Voting and Election Day volunteer opportunity.
A volunteer who is interested in being a Rover for the election protection program has very similar responsibilities as a Poll Monitor. The major difference here is that Rovers must have access to a vehicle. A volunteer Rover can expect to visit up to 5 polling locations within their 4 or 5 hour shift. Since Rovers are also offered a gas card for being flexible, the election protection team may call Rovers during their shift to assist with rapid response issues that may arise at polling locations not originally assigned to them. This is an Election Day only volunteer opportunity.
**(NOT AVAILABLE DURING EARLY VOTING)
A volunteer who is interested in being a part of the Sign Team for election protection can expect to receive a list of polling locations that will need yard signs placed at early voting sites and/or the day/night before the election. This volunteer would also be expected to pick up the yard signs after polling locations close on Election Day and recycle them. Sign Team volunteers can expect to receive anywhere from 10-20 locations for yard sign drops, depending on the density of the region. This is an Early Voting and Election Day volunteer opportunity.
A: At VCET, the safety of our volunteers and staff is our first priority. Not only have we made adjustments to our volunteer program to mitigate as much risk as possible, but we are also providing each volunteer with PPE. All of our volunteer opportunities have minimal contact with others, or be done so safely outdoors with plenty of room to socially distance. In spite of all our safety measures, the current public health crisis makes it hard to give assurances that any outing is completely risk-free. We are doing our best to ensure everyone’s safety. However, we recognize that only you can determine your level of comfortability and will never ask you to do something that makes you feel unsafe.
A: Yes, receiving a stipend is available to all volunteers for each shift completed. Please be sure to indicate your preference when completing your volunteer form.
A: This answer is a bit different per volunteer opportunity! For poll monitors, you will arrive at your assignment and check in via text with your Election Protection Captain (this will be assigned to you ahead of election day). During your time there, you will answer questions and help voters as they request assistance. Once you are finished with your shift, you will check back in with your Election Protection Captain and go about the rest of your day! Roving volunteers can expect a similar day with the biggest difference being the amount of polling precincts you will visit during your shift. Our Election Protection team will go more in depth about what the day will look like during your training session.
A: During Early Voting, poll monitors will be assigned a 4 or 5 hour shift on available Saturdays and Sundays. Times will vary by location and are dependent on the hours of operation. On Election Day, we have the following 4 or 5 hour shift options for poll monitors and rovers:
For volunteers on the Sign Team, we’re asking folks for 1 hour on the day you are to drop off signs at polling sites, and 1 hour on the following day to pick them up.
A: Yes! All volunteers will be required to complete a 1.5-hour virtual training ahead of their assignment where they will be given the tools and information they need to complete their shift. During training, we will discuss voting laws, frequently asked questions from voters, what the day will look like, and more! There also will be time for Q&A from your trainer if there are any lingering questions from volunteers ahead of your shift. Our goal is to ensure you feel equipped and confident to perform the tasks outlined for the volunteer opportunity you choose!
A: On your registration form, we ask you to provide your home address. We use this information to send you your volunteer materials and as a reference point and to provide an option for volunteers to vote in-person during their shift if they need to. Our election protection team will do our best to keep your assignment within close proximity of your home polling precinct, however that may be adjusted to ensure all priority polling locations are covered throughout the day.
A: Once you have signed up, you will receive a follow-up email confirming your registration, requesting a few more details and choosing your training date (via google form). After you have completed that step, someone from the VCET team will reach out with a calendar invite with Zoom details for the mandatory election protection training ahead of your shift. Our team will be reviewing volunteer sign-ups on a bi-weekly basis.
For more information, please contact the VCET Election Protection Team at: ElectionProtection@engageva.org