Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

CLE Credit for Attorney Poll Workers Becomes Permanent

Two women wearing medical masks seated behind plexiglass helping another woman at a polling location.

A new Supreme Court rule gives lawyers the opportunity earn up to 12 hours of CLE for poll worker service every two-year compliance period.

Two women wearing medical masks seated behind plexiglass helping another woman at a polling location.

A new Supreme Court rule gives lawyers the opportunity earn up to 12 hours of CLE for poll worker service every two-year compliance period.

Attorneys can earn continuing legal education (CLE) credit for serving as poll workers in elections following a rule change by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

The rule amendment follows previous orders by the Supreme Court granting lawyers CLE for training and service as election officials to help offset staffing shortages when many older, long-time poll workers were not available because of the COVID pandemic. This rule becomes a permanent way to earn CLE when it goes into effect on Aug. 1.

To see if there is a need for poll workers in your county, you can check the poll worker tracker on the secretary of state’s website. Attorneys can also register as poll workers through the website.

According to Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Ohio became the first state to utilize attorneys as election officials in July 2020. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor’s original call for attorneys to volunteer for the November 2020 general election prompted 1,110 lawyers to participate.

“Attorneys from across the state have become a vital part of the election process during these unprecedented times over the past two years,” said Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. “I am certain many more lawyers will see the value in this essential civic duty moving forward.”

Lawyers in Ohio are required to earn 24 hours of CLE every two years by attending live and online programs accredited by the Commission on Continuing Legal Education. To earn four credit hours, volunteer attorneys must complete training at their county board of elections, and they must work the entire voting day. Attorneys can obtain up to 12 hours of CLE as poll workers during their biennial compliance period. For those who have previously completed precinct election training, they must take three hours of training about statutory and case law on elections provided by the Secretary of State.

Chief Justice O’Connor was featured on CBS News in August 2020 explaining the collaboration between the Court and the secretary of state, who won a national award for the program.

For those seeking more information about the attorney poll worker program, the CLE commission produced a section dedicated to frequently asked questions for the Aug. 2 primary. Those questions and answers will be updated to reflect the rule change at a later date.