The South Carolina Judicial Branch is offering attorneys up to six hours of CLE credit for serving as poll workers on Election Day, in response to a critical shortage of volunteers needed to make the election run smoothly.
Election officials across the country have been dealing with a staffing crisis as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many volunteers—who are typically older and thus at greater risk from the virus—to withdraw because of safety concerns. An unprecedented number of younger volunteers have stepped up in response, but large gaps still remain. A shortage of poll workers caused significant delays and complications during South Carolina’s June primary.
To encourage more attorneys to volunteer to work at the polls, Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty signed an order Oct. 1 that will allow attorneys to earn up to six hours of general CLE credit for poll-working on Nov. 3.
The polling place must be located in South Carolina, and lawyers must comply with all training requirements and be eligible to serve as a volunteer and work the entire day, generally 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., excluding lunch and normal break times, to receive CLE credit. No partial credit will be provided to lawyers who volunteer for less than a full day.
Poll workers are generally paid for their time, but lawyers must decline pay for service and training to qualify for CLE, and an election official must certify the lawyer’s service at the polls.