Election Day Overview

Here's what to expect on Election Day as an Officer of Election:

Plan Ahead – You will not be able to leave the polling place during your shift.

What to Bring – Food and beverages, medications, emergency contact information.  

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What to Wear – Comfortable clothing and shoes; remember that many people suffer with asthma or allergy conditions, so strong scents should be avoided.

Typical Election Day Schedule – Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. unless hours are extended by court order. Chief typically picks up materials the day before Election Day.

  • 5 a.m.: Chief Officer of Election arrives
  • 5:15 a.m.: Officers of Election arrive (subject to general registrar preference)
  • 5 a.m. – 6 a.m.: Prepare for election 
  • Take the oath
  • Welcome authorized representatives
  • Review assignments
  • Setup the polling place [call general registrar if anything is missing during setup]
    • Check supplies/signs/forms; post signs inside/outside of polling place; set-up demonstration equipment and instructional materials
    • Set up pollbook station and pollbooks
    • Lay out forms and reference materials
    • Verify paper ballots; count the ballots sent by registrar and contact the registrar if there are not enough ballots (as planned). Check that the ballots are correct.
    • Set up and verify voting equipment 
      • Ensure voting booths and machines are positioned for privacy and booths include a privacy folder for voters to transport ballots to tabulator/scanner.
    • Ensure an emergency ballot box is available, emptied and locked.
  • Complete pre-election paperwork

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  • 6 a.m.: open the polls and conduct the election (Chief must call general registrar to report polls are open) 
    • This is when voters cast their ballots. Voters in line at the time the polls close are also allowed to vote normally. 
      • While polls are open, Officers of Election should be aware of and continuously monitor persons allowed in the polling place, prohibited activities, and voting systems and ballots.
      • Officers of Election are required to track certain types of activities and count special ballots cast. Examples include unusual activity (see “Prohibited Activities” training), provisional ballots (see separate training), requests for assistance casting a ballot and curbside voting.
  • 7 p.m.: close the polls 
    • At exactly 6:45 p.m., the chief announces, “The polls will close in 15 minutes”.
    • At exactly 7 p.m., the chief announces, “The polls are officially closed”.
  • 7 p.m. until...: secure equipment and ballots; complete paperwork; pack materials and supplies. 
    • Anyone in line when the polls close at 7 p.m. must be allowed to vote normally.
    • After all voting is completed, close the pollbooks following local procedures.
    • Welcome and instruct authorized representatives.
    • Complete and sign forms and paperwork following local instructions.
    • Your general registrar and chief officer will provide detailed instructions about how to secure, close, and pack up the equipment and supplies at the end of the evening.

Forms and Paperwork:

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On Election Day, you will work with a lot of different forms, documents and envelopes. In addition to tracking and reporting of election results, information is collected to help audit and ensure the integrity of and access to the ballot.

The Department of Elections provides localities with standard forms and documents to use on Election Day. Some of these may be customized or replaced by the general registrar, so follow local instructions and training to properly complete required paperwork.

In addition to tracking election results, a variety of information is collected using forms on Election Day. Examples include information about incidents, emergencies and unusual activity, spoiled/voided ballots, and pollbook summaries.

Other Resources:

Two good sources of information to help you properly fulfill your responsibilities as an Officer of Election are:

  • Election Day Guide – provides a series of reminders and checklists for Officers of Election on Election Day. Your general registrar may provide this document as-is or modify it to fit local needs. The general registrar is your main resource for locality-specific information, instructions and training.
  • What-If document – provides step-by-step instructions to take in over 20 different scenarios. These are situations we can anticipate may require exceptions to normal processing of voters on Election Day, such as if a voter has moved since registering, what to do if a voter can’t present a valid ID, or a voter is already marked as having voted.

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Did you know?

Any person who serves as an officer of election as defined in § 24.2-101 shall neither be discharged from employment, nor have any adverse personnel action taken against him, nor shall he be required to use sick leave or vacation time, as a result of his absence from employment due to such service, provided he gave reasonable notice to his employer of such service. No person who serves for four or more hours, including travel time, on his day of service shall be required to start any work shift that begins on or after 5:00 p.m. on the day of his service or begins before 3:00 a.m. on the day following the day of his service. Any employer violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor. § 24.2-118.1