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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
November 6, 2023

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

Schools as Voting Locations and Student Poll Workers

We are requesting your help to mitigate voting location and poll working shortages by making your campuses available as polling locations for the March 5, 2024, Presidential Primary Election and the November 5, 2024, General Election.

Public-School Campuses as Voting Locations

Your local elections official may ask you to make your public-school campus available for use as a polling location. We hope that you can honor this request if asked to do so. The law allows you to decide how best to comply with the request to meet the needs of your community.

Three options are available under the 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 the options before school calendars are printed and distributed to parents (Elections Code §12283). You may contact your local elections office at https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/county-elections-offices to offer your school as a polling location or vote center.

High School Students as 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 encourage you to make every effort to adjust your calendars to accommodate the use of your campuses as polling locations for the 2024 election cycle. We would also be grateful if you would help your local election officials by actively identifying high school students who can serve as poll workers for the upcoming elections. This is a great opportunity for students to be civically engaged and assist with election processes. 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 Jannell Jackson, Deputy Secretary of State of Voter Education and Outreach, at SosOutreach@sos.ca.gov or 916-584-3538, or the California Department of Education High School Innovations Office at HSIIO@cde.ca.gov or 916-319-0893.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Shirley N. Weber, Ph.D.
California Secretary of State

TT/SW:df

Last Reviewed: Monday, November 06, 2023

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