State, county, and local government employees are a great source of potential precinct election officials. In accordance with R.C. 3501.28(G), many government agencies have a precinct election official leave policy in place, or may be willing to adopt one, that would allow participating employees to receive their normal pay while working at a polling location on Election Day. Permitting this type leave falls to the discretion of the governmental agency. Employees also are likely to view assisting at polling locations as a civic duty.
Why recruiting government employees is a valuable tool for county boards of elections:
- Public sector employees are a large and diverse group of civic-minded individuals.
- Many employees are repeat volunteers who provide word-of-mouth recruitment at their agency.
- Employees have an added incentive to report as directed to their polling location to maintain their reputation and the reputation of their agency.
- Many government employees are comfortable working in a technology environment.
Why serving as a PEO is a valuable experience for government employees and their agencies:
- Agencies might use the activity as a team-building exercise.
- Employees receive a stipend, and some offices choose to donate the stipends earned to a community charity.
- Employees perform their civic duty and become familiar with their communities.
- Government agencies have the opportunity to continue community outreach.
Steps to Recruiting Government Employees:
Develop Packet to Send to Government Agencies
This packet should include all materials government agencies need to provide employees with the information they need to understand the responsibilities of serving as a PEO. County boards of elections may customize many of materials available from the Secretary of State's office and develop other materials on their own as needed. Some recommended materials are:
Self-mailer Sign up Card
This self-mailer card was created by the Secretary of State's office to be distributed to anyone interested in being a PEO. Counties received requested quantities of the cards for their recruitment efforts, boards may provide these and/or more cards can be requested on the Secretary of State’s website.
This poster was created by the Secretary of State's office to be printed and displayed. There are two sizes available:
Voter Registration Form
Important Dates to Remember Handout
This handout must be created by the county board of elections to include important dates such as the PEO recruitment deadline, training date(s), Election Day, etc.
Communicate Early with Government Agencies' Decision Makers
County boards of elections should communicate with local government agencies.
A letter template has been created to assist in making contact with the decision makers at these government agencies.
Promote the Government Agency Recruitment Program
Request Assistance from Third-Party Distribution Channels
Contact organizations in your county that regularly conduct government agency outreach efforts to see if they will help the board's PEO recruitment efforts.
Provide those organizations with printed materials and links available to you for distribution.
Make sure they are directing any interested owners to request information directly from you or by signing up for more information at www.PEOinOHIO.com.
Many of these agencies will have regularly scheduled meetings where boards can send a representative to speak about the need and benefits for precinct election officials in their county.
Website and Social Media Outreach
Many people are easily accessible using on-line tools, which are also very cost-effective. Ensure that government agencies provide website and social media information to their students by making the relevant links available.
- Post requests for assistance on your website.
- Post requests for assistance on your social media accounts and encourage a dialogue on these sites for further interaction. Be sure to make the posts fun and short.
- Encourage them to follow OhioSOSHusted on Facebook and Twitter.
You can also encourage them to use the widget created by the Secretary of State's office to include on their website, blog and social profiles. Simply forward the code for the widget found here.
Printed materials are also very useful. Encourage government agencies to distribute materials provided to them in their packets (see above).
Word of Mouth
One of the best methods for disseminating information will always be personal interaction. Encourage frequent dialogue between the county board or elections and government agencies about the opportunity to serve as a PEO.
Measure Your Success
Once the county board of elections has successfully started a government agency PEO program, evaluate the effectiveness of its recruitment efforts and the value of utilizing government employees as PEOs.
- Track the number of government employees who serve as PEOs.
- Follow up with government employees after they serve to hear their thoughts on the program and whether they would be willing to serve as a PEO in the future.
- Follow up with precinct judges on their impressions of the government employees' work.
- Follow up with government agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.