Thursday, May 29, 2008

Poll Greeter Guide

Poll Greeters are outside the 100-foot marker and their activities are not very restricted. They can electioneer, help voters with ballots, wave candidate signs, and help support Democrats in the voting process as long as they stay outside the 100 ft marker of the polling place.

Contact your Political Party’s and or Candidates’ campaign office(s) and ask for the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) or Poll Greeter Coordinator to inquire about a poll greeter assignment.

What to Wear:
  • Comfortable layers of clothing as the temperature will change throughout the day.
  • Comfortable shoes, because you may be standing for long periods of time.
  • Sunscreen, as there is little shade at polling places.
What to Bring:
  • Bottles of Water and snacks/energy bars
  • Extra sunscreen, sunglasses, an umbrella (for shade and rain)
  • A book, radio or MP3 player for when there is no voter traffic
  • A cell phone (or locate a nearby payphone)
  • A folding chair
  • Handbook for Election Judges and Clerks
  • Election Day phone numbers and web address
  • Folding table for Candidate and Party literature
  • Candidate and Party literature and signs
What to Expect:

People happy to see you there; those who are hostile to you being there; and many people indifferent to you being there
  • An election official, a hostile voter or someone from another party may question your presence. While this is rare, be prepared for anything. In addition, ALL greeters, signs and literature must be a specified distance from the entrance to the polling place.
  • Voter traffic will fluctuate dramatically. Many tend to vote before or after work. Some arrive during their lunch break or after-school. Typically, there is a lower turnout during non-presidential election years.
  • A long but satisfying day. You may leave with more energy than when you started because you made a huge difference.
As a Poll Greeter, your main responsibilities are:
  1. To project a positive, enthusiastic attitude;
  2. To give palm cards or other handouts; and
  3. To thank arriving people for voting, encourage them to vote for your party or particular candidates and ask if they have any last minute questions.
  4. Thank departing people for voting too.
The job seems simple and extremely repetitive, but executing all three tasks at the same time throughout the day is harder than it seems. Make each handout and greeting as genuine, enthusiastic, and effective as the first.
  • Say “Thank you for voting today, and please vote for these great candidates.”
  • If you are alone, do not encage in lengthy discussions of the issues/candidates with people that want to talk. Direct them to the Hospitality Table that you set up that has candidate and or party literature.
  • Position yourself next to the main pathway into the polling place, but do not block it. Always make sure you are outside the restricted area.
  • Keep smiling, even in the face of hostile people. Remember that you are making a positive difference and there are lot more people grateful that you are there. Your calm and polite response to a hostile voter creates a positive impression of both you and the party.
Keep your chair and personal items nearby so you can easily sit down when time permits but you are able to remain in position to greet new voters. Please know that you are critical to the success of the Democratic Party. Thank you for making a difference!

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