Student Election Clerk FAQ

Q. What are student election clerks?

Student election clerks are high school students who are 16 years of age or older who participate in the electoral process by serving as election clerks at the polling place during Early Voting and/or on Election Day. The purpose is two-fold: 1) to introduce students to the electoral process, including the rights and responsibilities of voters, and to inspire the students with an interest in their government, and 2) to provide their local election officials with additional resources, by filling positions at polling places working under the direction of the polling place presiding judge election judge.

Q. What are the requirements for a student to serve as an election clerk?


To qualify as a student election clerk, the student must:

  • Be at least 16 years old on Election Day;
  • Be enrolled in a public, private, or qualified home school;
  • Be a U.S. citizen;
  • Have consent of his/her parent or legal guardian to work the election;
  • Have consent of his/her school principal (or parent/legal guardian for home-schooled students); and
  • Complete any required election worker training program.

Q. What are the Benefits of Serving as an Election Clerk?


Some of the benefits of serving as an election clerk are:

  • Election workers are paid hourly for their service.
  • Students will gain practical experience by serving their community and state.
  • Experience as an election clerk is an impressive addition to a resumé or college application.
  • Students can take part in a rewarding activity while learning about the democratic process.
  • Students can earn community service hours for school.

Q. What are the Responsibilities of an Election Clerk?


Working under the supervision of the judge, student election clerks may assist with the following duties:

  • Organizing the polling place before the polls open.
  • Ensuring that qualified voters are permitted to vote.
  • Checking in and processing voters.
  • Distributing ballots to registered voters.
  • Providing instructions and assistance to voters.
  • Answering voters’ questions.
  • Explaining the use of the voting equipment.
  • Maintaining order in the polling place on Election Day.
  • Obtaining results after the polls are closed and closing the polling place.

Q. How do I Apply to be a Student Election Clerk?


To serve as a student election clerk, you must:

  • Fill out the Student Election Clerk Application and Permission Slip (PDF).
  • Have your parent or guardian sign the Parent/Legal Guardian Permission portion.
  • Have your school principal sign the School Principal Authorization portion. Also, take the proper steps to ensure that your absence from school in order to work during Early Voting or on Election Day will be excused.
  • Send the application to the local elections officials conducting the electio in which you wish to serve (county clerk/elections administrator, city secretary, school superintendent, etc.). Try to send the application at least 60 days prior to Election Day (even though there is no statutory deadline).
  • If selected, attend the required election training class prior serving as a clerk. This training provides all the necessary information and knowledge to be a successful elections clerk.
  • Show up to work at the polls as assigned during Early Voting or on Election Day.

Q. How Often can I Serve as a Student Election Clerk?


A school district may excuse a student for the purpose of serving as an Early Voting and/or Election Day clerk for a maximum of two days in a school year

  • Example: A student could work two weekdays during Early Voting for an election held on a Saturday, and then also work on Election Day (a Saturday), as the student would only have to be excused from school for two weekdays.

Q. Can I still work as a student election clerk once I turn 18?

A high school or home schooled student who is 18 years of age but is not yet registered to vote is still eligible to serve as a student election clerk. However, we encourage all individuals who are eligible to register to vote to do so, at which point they would be eligible to serve as a regular election day judge or clerk rather than as a student election clerk.

Q. How will the polling place election judge know which students are interested and available or even how to contact them?

The Secretary of State’s office has a Student Election Worker Application and Permission Slip (PDF, 30k) posted on its website that political subdivisions can use for students to apply to be election clerks. The students can fill out the application, get the required signatures, and send the form to the election officials who serve the election in which the student wishes to serve. The elections official will provide each judge with a list of all eligible student election workers. Here is a link to contact information for county election officials.

Q. Do the school authorities send the election officials student names, addresses, and phone numbers directly? Can the school give out this information without a written approval notice from a parent/legal guardian of the students?

The student will provide all required information directly to the election officials. The Student Election Worker Application and Permission Slip (PDF, 30k) for students to complete and send to their local elections officials includes a consent section for both parent/guardian and the appropriate school official. The student will be responsible for obtaining the principal’s consent to serve as an election clerk. The student (not the school) provides the information directly to the election officials. The school will not need to contact the election officials. In addition, the student must obtain parental or legal guardian consent on the same application before the student can serve as an election clerk.

Q. How will the election officials inform the school that the student actually worked on Election Day?

Serving as an election clerk is now included in the Texas Education Code’s definition of “excused absence.” Student election clerks are entitled to compensation in the same manner as other election clerks. The election official should give each student worker documentation in the form of a time sheet, pay stub, or other letter or form showing that the student served as an election worker and the hours worked. Ultimately, however, it is up to the student to ensure that the school is given the proper documentation in order to have an excused absence.

Q. How many student election clerks can serve at each polling place?

Up to four student election clerks may work at a single Early Voting site at a time, and up to two student clerks may work at an Election Day polling place at a time; except that not more than four student election clerks may serve at any countywide polling place.

Q. Can student election clerks work outside of their home precinct?

Students can work outside of their home precinct because election clerks are not limited to working only in their own precincts. The positions in each precinct should be filled in the order in which the students apply, assuming they meet all the requirements. Any extra student applicants for a given precinct may work in another precinct that does not already have its authorized number of student election clerk positions filled.

Q. What if the parents and student give their general consent, then the student is later assigned to a polling place or time that he or she does not want to work?

The student clerk may simply turn down the assignment (just like any other voluntary election clerk offered an assignment that presents a conflict).

Q. Can a student election worker serve as an interpreter?

Yes. When election workers are communicating with a voter who cannot communicate in English, a student election worker may communicate with the voter in a language the voter and the clerk understands.

Q. Are there any labor laws about how many hours a student can work during a school day?

Under the Texas Labor Code, the employment hours of persons 16 or older are not restricted by state law. Persons 16 or 17 years of age have no restrictions on the number of hours or times of day they may work.

Q. Are there any curfew laws that the student could run afoul of if they were out late due to extended voting hours?

There are no state law curfews in Texas. However, some municipalities and perhaps counties have curfews by local ordinance; therefore, the answers would vary depending on the details of any applicable local ordinance. It is common for most local curfew ordinances to give exceptions for school or work-related activities, for which this would likely qualify. Also, the student will not be in violation of the compulsory attendance law for schools because, again, the legislation provides for an excused absence when serving as an election clerk.
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