Electoral administration and the problem of poll worker recruitment: Who volunteers, and why?

Clark, Alistair and James, Toby S. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5826-5461 (2023) Electoral administration and the problem of poll worker recruitment: Who volunteers, and why? Public Policy and Administration, 38 (2). pp. 188-208. ISSN 0952-0767

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Elections depend on the thousands of people who give up their time to administer this crucial public service. They staff polling stations and ensure votes are issued, cast and counted. Poll workers are effectively ‘stipended volunteers’, receiving some limited financial compensation, but working for the broader public good. It is important to understand why people choose to give up their time to provide this fundamental public service to their fellow citizens. Using original data from a poll worker survey conducted in the 2015 British general election, this article investigates the motivations and incentives for poll workers volunteering to administer major elections in an important advanced democracy. Exploratory expectations are set out about the motivations of poll workers, and the relationship to their socio-economic characteristics, and levels of social capital and satisfaction with democracy. Contrary to expectations, the findings note that, earning some extra money is important to many, although motivations are more broadly structured around solidary, purposive and material motivations. The article establishes a range of relationships between each set of incentives, and poll workers’ socio-economic, social capital and satisfaction profiles.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding: This work was supported by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust (Grant number SG140099).
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Political, Social and International Studies
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Policy & Politics
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2021 23:45
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 09:56
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/79887
DOI: 10.1177/09520767211021203


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