The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that government employees who requests time off to serve as a non-partisan election worker to assist in the proper and orderly voting and procedures at polling stations shall be granted excused absence to the maximum extent possible while accounting for the responsibilities and duties to carry out the agency mission. In response to the new OPM guidance, CISA and election security partners praised the decision to enable more citizens to serve as poll workers. This move allows federal employees another avenue to serve their country during a historic moment when the nation has seen rapid, dramatic shifts in how we work, learn and vote.
Christopher Krebs, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), said, “The 2020 election is already in full swing with early voting and mail-in voting already underway in many jurisdictions across the country, supported by dedicated state and local election officials and tens of thousands of volunteer poll workers who ensure the process runs smoothly and reliably. As election officials continue to adjust processes and procedures to keep everyone safe, it’s become clear the nation needs more poll workers, as many who typically volunteer tend to be older and are higher risk. OPM’s decision will allow our federal workers to step up and do their part. I encourage all Americans who are healthy and able to participate in the process and consider volunteering as a poll worker.”
Ben Hovland, Chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission Chairman, said, “I am pleased that the federal government is supporting federal employees who are willing to serve as poll workers as Americans prepare to vote. OPM’s decision is a great step in support of local election offices and their efforts to fill these critical positions for the upcoming election. While many election officials are in a much better place with recruitment than they were a few months ago, many jurisdictions still need people to sign up.”
Lori Augino, President, National Association of State Election Directors and Director of Elections, Washington Secretary of State, said, “Even jurisdictions in which every voter is mailed a ballot rely on thousands of election workers to make the process run smoothly. I hope that many of the millions of federal employees nationwide will step up and help state and local election officials deliver an efficient and secure voting experience for all Americans.”
Maggie Toulouse Oliver, National Association of Secretaries of State President and New Mexico Secretary of State, said, “On behalf of my fellow Secretaries of State, 40 of whom serve as their state’s Chief Election Official, I am appreciative to OPM for this timely initiative. Federal employees’ service as poll workers will not only aid communities and election officials, but most importantly our democracy.”
Americans who want to participate can go to HelpAmericaVote.gov to apply to be a poll worker.