Pennsylvania Department of State Invites High School Students to Make a Difference in the November Election

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PENNSYLVANIA — Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth, Al Schmidt, is urging eligible residents to become poll workers for the upcoming November 7th election. With approximately 45,000 workers needed to staff over 9,000 voting locations, Schmidt emphasizes the fulfilling nature of this civic engagement opportunity.

“Elections in Pennsylvania could not happen without poll workers, and it takes about 45,000 of them to staff more than 9,000 voting locations across the commonwealth,” Schmidt said. “As someone who has worked in elections and at polls for many years, I can say it is among the most rewarding acts of civic engagement you can ever perform.”

The Shapiro Administration is committed to ensuring free, fair, safe, and secure elections in Pennsylvania. That commitment includes protecting Pennsylvanians’ right to vote, improving the efficiency and transparency of our elections, and ensuring every eligible ballot is counted. Poll workers play a vital role in helping achieve all those priorities.

Pennsylvania’s poll workers must be a registered voter, which means they must meet voter registration eligibility criteria. However, Pennsylvania also allows 17-year-old high school students to serve as poll workers if they obtain permission from their school principal and their parent or guardian.

Among high school students who were poll workers during the 2022 general election and 2023 municipal primary were Kavi Shahnawaz from Philadelphia County and Brayden Wisniewski from Allegheny County.

Shahnawaz, now 18, served as a poll worker when they were a senior at Central High School. “Voters can only make their voices heard if there is a crew of people there to set the stage,” they said. “Whether you’re a clerk, machine operator or bilingual interpreter, everyone plays a unique and necessary role in orchestrating the annual, twice-a-year event that is Election Day.”

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Wisniewski, also now 18, founded the Student Voter Registration Committee, which encourages students to become active voters and poll workers, during his senior year at Avonworth High School. “Poll work is the heartbeat of democracy, ensuring every citizen’s voice resonates and every vote carries weight,” he said.

Benefits of becoming a poll worker include:

  • being paid for trainings and for Election Day work,
  • learning about elections in Pennsylvania,
  • gaining valuable work experience,
  • helping your community, and
  • making new friends.

“Poll workers are strong safeguards for our elections,” Schmidt said. “The tens of thousands of voters who serve in these roles are everyday Pennsylvanians – your friends, your family, and your neighbors.

“I urge every eligible Pennsylvanian to consider being a poll worker and helping ensure our elections remain free, fair, safe, and secure.”

Students interested in being poll workers should complete and submit this interest form, and adults interested in becoming a poll worker should complete and submit this interest form.

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