Shapiro Administration Encourages Voters, 17-Year-Old High School Students to Sign Up Today To Be Poll Workers in November Election

HARRISBURG, PA – In honor of National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt today encouraged eligible Pennsylvanians to sign up to serve as poll workers for the Nov. 7 election.

"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."

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

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission's National Poll Worker Recruitment Day is also called Help America Vote Day and uses #HelpAmericaVote on social media. In Pennsylvania, more than 1,100 voters signed up to be poll workers through the Department of State's website in the week following the August 2022 initiative.

Editor's note: Media interested in interviewing Kavi Shahnawaz or Brayden Wisniewski should email to obtain contact information.

Media Contacts

Matt Heckel

Press Secretary
Department of State Media