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Your Rights - Volunteering at the Polls

Did you know that as a state employee, you can work at the polls without any loss of pay or benefits?  A statutory change made a few years ago (s. 77.33 (4), Wis. Stats.) gives you that right.  You need to give at least seven (7) days' notice to your supervisor, although an agency/campus may waive that if they choose.  You get the entire 24 hour period off with pay regardless of what shift you choose to work at the polls.  For example, if you normally work from 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and you sign up to work at the polls from 1:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., you do not have to go into work in the morning.  

Volunteering at the polls is pretty easy and most places are looking for people.  You may have to attend a training session for an hour or two before the election, but most likely you'll be paid for attending.  The work isn't that difficult.  Common tasks are checking people off a list and signing blank ballots.  This year there will likely be the new task of checking photo ids.   You may also be asked to handle new voter registrations which involves reviewing forms and checking for the appropriate identification.  Each polling place will have a lead official who handles the more complicated stuff like dealing with equipment problems, printing out the results and turning in the appropriate paperwork. 
 
You will have to refund to the State any pay you receive from your municipality for working at the polls.  However, any pay you receive for training done on your own time is yours to keep. Unless your agency/campus has a special process, all you need to do is send a copy of your check from your local municipality to your payroll people along with a statement that you worked at the polls. 
 
To volunteer to work as an election official, contact your municipal clerk.  In Madison, the phone number is 608-266-4601 or you can apply online at http://www.ci.madison.wi.us/clerk/pollworker.cfm
 
For more information on election procedures, go to http://elections.state.wi.us/index.asp.  
 
The statute:
 
7.33 (3)
3) Every employer shall grant to each employee who is appointed to serve as an election official under s. 7.30 a leave of absence for the entire 24-hour period of each election day in which the official serves in his or her official capacity. An employee who serves as an election official shall provide his or her employer with at least 7 days' notice of application for a leave. The municipal clerk shall verify appointments upon request of any employer.

7.33(4) http://www.legis.state.wi.us/statutes/Stat0007.pdf http://www.legis.state.wi.us/statutes/Stat0007.pdf
(4) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, each local governmental unit, as defined in s. 16.97 (7) , may, and each state agency shall, upon proper application under sub. (3) , permit each of its employees to serve as an election official under s. 7.30 without loss of fringe benefits or seniority privileges earned for scheduled working hours during the period specified in sub. (3) , without loss of pay for scheduled working hours during the period specified in sub. (3) except as provided in sub. (5) , and without any other penalty. For employees who are included in a collective bargaining unit for which a representative is recognized or certified under subch. V of ch. 111, this subsection shall apply unless otherwise provided in a collective bargaining agreement.

7.33(5) http://www.legis.state.wi.us/statutes/Stat0007.pdf http://www.legis.state.wi.us/statutes/Stat0007.pdf
(5) Any employee of a local governmental unit, as defined in s. 16.97 (7) , or state agency who obtains a paid leave of absence under sub. (4) in order to serve as an election official under s. 7.30 shall certify in writing to the head of the local governmental unit or state agency by which he or she is employed the amount of compensation that the employee receives for such service. Upon receipt of the certification, the head of the local governmental unit or state agency shall deduct that amount from the employee's pay earned for scheduled working hours during the period specified in sub. (2) when the employee is on a paid leave of absence.