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San Mateo County Assessor-Clerk-Recorder-Elections
Shape the Future. Vote!

Official Election Site of San Mateo County

MARK CHURCH, Chief Elections Officer & Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder


Student Poll Worker Program



Everything You Need to Know About democracyLIVE!


We hope that anyone who wants to sign up does and takes advantage of this amazing opportunity to experience Election Day first-hand.


What is democracyLIVE!?
democracyLIVE! is the San Mateo County Student Poll Worker program aimed at giving high school students an inside look at American democracy in action. Student Poll Workers are critical members of the Election Day team and provide support to Elections Staff, assisting voters and participating in polling place operations.


Who can join democracyLIVE!?
In order to be a Student Poll Worker with democracyLIVE!, you must

  • be at least 16 years old
  • be a high school student with a minimum 2.5 GPA
  • be a U.S. citizen
  • have written permission from both your parent/guardian and school for you to work on Election Day.

What are the benefits of joining democracyLIVE!?

  • It looks great on a college application or resume
  • Earn community service credits, depending on school policy
  • Represent your school
  • See democracy in action from a local perspective
  • Earn $140

Student Poll Workers are required to:

  • Attend a training class
  • Set up voting machines, tables and other precinct supplies
  • Open and close the polling place (work 6 a.m.-9 p.m.)
  • Locate voter names on the roster - Issue ballots
  • Assist voters in any phase of the voting process
  • Perform other tasks as assigned by the Inspector

Here's a list of high schools that have taken part in democracyLIVE!:

  • Alma Heights Christian Academy
  • Aragon High School
  • Burlingame High School
  • Capuchino High School
  • Carlmont High School
  • Castilleja School
  • Crystal Springs Uplands
  • East Palo Alto Academy
  • El Camino High School
  • Hillsdale High School
  • Half Moon Bay High School
  • Jefferson High School
  • Junipero Serra High School
  • Menlo School - Menlo
  • Atherton High School
  • Mid-Peninsula
  • Mills High School
  • Notre Dame High School
  • Oceana High School
  • Ocean Grove High School
  • Pescadero High School
  • Redwood High School
  • Sacred Heart Preparatory School
  • San Mateo High School
  • Sequoia High School
  • South San Francisco High School
  • Summit Preparatory School
  • Terra Nova High School
  • Westmoor High School
  • Woodside High School

When does democracyLIVE! take place?
We will be recruiting democracyLIVE! participants in August, training will take place in the schools during the month of October. Students will work on Election Day, November 7, 2017 If you would like to join democracyLIVE! and serve as a Student Poll Worker on Election Day, please apply by September 15, 2017. Please contact our office if you are interested in applying past the deadline.


Student Poll Workers work from 6 a.m. to approximately 9:00 p.m. on Election Day, and the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for voting.


How do I apply to join democracyLIVE!?
You may download the democracyLIVE! application on this website or pick one up at your school.


Here’s what to do:


  1. Fill out the democracyLIVE! application
  2. Get your parent/guardian’s signature on your application
  3. Get all your teachers’ signature on your application
  4. Fill out W-4 IRS Information Form
  5. Give your application to your School Coordinator by the deadline of September 15, 2017
  6. Students interested in applying past the deadline are encouraged to contact democracyLIVE! Coordinator Karla Gallegos at (650) 312-5292.

How do I know if my application was accepted and where I am working?
If your application is accepted, you will receive a letter from the Registration & Elections Division with your polling location assignment. We try to assign you as close to your home as possible. If you do not receive an assignment letter by two weeks before the election, please call (650) 286-2810 or email democracylive@smcare.org.


Do I have to attend a training class?
Yes. All Student Poll Workers are required to attend a three hour training class. Most classes will take place at your school in October. If you missed your assigned training class at school you must attend the training class at 40 Tower Road, San Mateo CA 94402. Contact your School Coordinator to find out when the training class will be at your school.


What if I can’t attend the training class I’m scheduled for?
If you cannot attend your scheduled training class, please contact the democracyLIVE! Coordinator and we can place you in a class that works better for you. If you cannot attend your scheduled class, you must contact us via phone or email to cancel at least 24 hours before the beginning of the class.


How long will I have to work on Election Day?
Election Day is long – you start at 6 a.m. and finish at 9:00 p.m. You are given two 1-hour breaks during the day. You must complete the entire shift. Half-shifts are not available.


What if I can’t work on Election Day?
If you have to cancel, you must contact us immediately. No shows will be disqualified from future involvement in the program and your school will be notified.


How much will I get paid?
All Poll Workers receive $140 for attending the training class and working on Election Day. In order to receive a paycheck, you must complete the required training class, return the W-4 form and work the entire Election Day shift.


When do I get paid?
It can take up to 30 days to process payment. If you haven’t received your paycheck by the middle of December, please contact us at (650) 312-5222 or democracylive@smcare.org.


How do I reach the democracyLIVE! Coordinator?
If you have any questions regarding this program, please feel free to contact the democracyLIVE! Coordinator by email.




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Registration & Elections Division
40 Tower Road, San Mateo, CA 94402
Phone: (650) 312-5222
Fax: (650) 312-5348
Email: registrar@smcare.org


Assistance for Voters with Disabilities:

Dial 711 For Telecommunications Relay Service
Phone: 1 (888) 762-8683
Language Assistance
Phone: 1 (888) 762-8683 or 1 (888) SMC-VOTE