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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
July 15, 2021

Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and School Principals:

Schools as Voting Locations and Student Poll Workers

The shortage of voting locations and poll workers is a challenge facing local elections officials in California every election day. We are asking for your help by making your campuses available as a polling location during the California Gubernatorial Recall Election on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.

As you may know, your local elections official may ask your public school campus to be used as a polling location on Election Day, Tuesday, September 14, 2021. We hope that you can honor this request should you be asked to do so. The law allows you to decide how best to comply with the request and meet the needs of your own community.

Three options are available under this law: 1) leave the school open and in session while a specific area of the school is designated as a polling location or vote center; 2) designate the day as a staff training and development day; or 3) choose to close the school to students and non-classified employees.

Local elections officials are encouraged to make the request to use your school as a polling location or vote center early enough for your school board to consider their options before school calendars are printed and distributed to parents (Elections Code §12283). You may contact your local elections office to offer your school as a polling location or vote center.

Another election day problem is a shortage of poll workers. According to many county elections officials, high school students are often the most helpful and enthusiastic poll workers. High school students who serve as poll workers report they learn about the importance of participating in an election despite not yet being eligible to vote.

High school students who are at least sixteen years of age, are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, and are in good standing with a grade point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale can serve as poll workers. While serving as a poll worker qualifies as an excused absence, absences for the entire school day are not included in the average daily attendance used to generate apportionment funding.

We hope that you will make every effort to adjust your calendars to accommodate the use of your campuses as polling locations for the Tuesday, September 14, 2021, California Gubernatorial Recall Election. In addition, we would be grateful if you would help your local elections officials by actively identifying high school students who can serve as poll workers for the upcoming election. This is a great opportunity for students to be civically engaged and assist with the elections process. We understand this is a busy time for our districts as you prepare for the upcoming school year. Our agencies and staff are available to support you in any way we can to honor this special request from your local election official.

If you have any questions about this request, please contact Tamara Rasberry, Deputy Secretary of State of Voter Education and Outreach, at trasberry@sos.ca.gov or 916-698-0509, or Jennie Carreon, Deputy State Superintendent of Strategy, Planning, and Special Projects, at jcarreon@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Shirley N. Weber, PhD
California Secretary of State

TT/SW:df

Last Reviewed: Thursday, July 15, 2021

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