Get deputized and help us save our democracy


Photo credit: Carson Bolding

photo provided by Carson Bolding

Are you registered to vote? Can you name more candidates than the two white men at the top of your ballot? Have you made sure your grandma is planning to vote by mail so she doesn’t have to risk her life at the polls or get ill? If you’re still feeling an itch to go above and beyond this election season, I’ve got you covered.

With just over a month left until the 2020 presidential election, one additional way you can participate is by working as an election worker. The only requirements to become an election clerk are to be 18 years old and a registered voter in the county you plan to work in. If you have yet to register in Bexar County, you have until October 5th to do so. In order to apply, just head to the Bexar County Elections Department website. There, you’ll find a one-page application that you can fill out and mail to the department.

If you’ve been beaten down by internship rejections in the past, don’t stress! Because of COVID-19, the usual election workers — most of whom are older, retired individuals — won’t be working this season. That means you’ll be able to sail to the top of the applicant pool. Bexar County needs your help to ensure that this strange election year goes as smoothly as possible. Because of the high need for election workers, the county is likely to be flexible with working around your class schedule, so you don’t miss that 3-hour Zoom lecture you look forward to every week.

As an election worker, you’ll get to wear a variety of hats. Throughout early voting and on Election Day, your main job will be to help check IDs and show people how to use the voting machines.

However, election workers also help to set up and break down voting sites, transport ballots and other equipment, and answer questions for voters.

Not sold by the massive amounts of self-gratification you’ll receive from going above and beyond your civic duty? You’ll also get paid! As an election clerk in Bexar County, you can expect to earn $15 an hour.

Is that not convincing enough for you? Maybe you’re looking for ways to practice civic engagement year-round. While voter registration season is dying down due to Texas’ October 5th registration deadline, you might consider becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar (VDR). When Texans register to vote, they either need to print out a form, fill it out by hand, and mail it to their local elections department, or be registered by a VDR.

To become a VDR, or get deputized, you must be 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen. You aren’t, however, required to be registered to vote in the county you get deputized in. After attending a short training with the Elections Department, you’ll be handed a stack of voter registration forms and sent into the world to expand the electorate at your leisure. Note: you can only register people to vote if they reside in the county you were deputized in. That means if you’d like to register voters state-wide, you’d have to be deputized in all of Texas’ 254 counties. Sheesh!

While you won’t get paid to be a VDR, who doesn’t love the kid in class who whips out the voter registration forms at the faintest whisper of “I don’t think I’m registered to vote at my Trinity address?”

All this isn’t to say that voting will solve all our problems. To start, our voting system actively suppresses the voices of BIPOC and people of low-income backgrounds. But for those of us who have the privilege of being able to cast our ballots this election season, we also have a responsibility to take action. If only to ensure that tomorrow is better than today, so we can pave the way for a better future. Going above and beyond this election year is the least we can do to ensure a free and fair election.