With pandemic that is especially dangerous to the elderly, older teens who want to help ensure that Election Day runs as successful as possible can sign up now to be poll workers on Nov. 3. The Poll Hero organization, founded and run primarily by college students, is recruiting thousands of other college and older high school students to become paid poll workers this fall.
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has declared today to be National Poll Worker Recruitment Day—a day dedicated to “the goal of encouraging potential poll workers to sign up to Help America Vote in 2020.” Although many more Americans than usual are expected to vote by mail this fall, the country still faces a potentially critical shortage of poll workers during the pandemic. Most poll workers traditionally are over the age of 61, which puts them at a higher risk for complications from COVID-19.
Poll Hero does not hire and train poll workers themselves—rather, they connect young people with their local election board and help determine whether they’re eligible for the position. (Anyone 18 years and older can apply to become a poll worker, and some states allow youth as young as 16 to do the job.)
According to an FAQ on Poll Hero’s website, here’s what happens once you sign up:
We’ll get in touch with you and walk you through the process of applying to your local election board and getting prepared for Election Day. We’re also working to create content to keep you informed and excited about the critical role you’ll play in our democracy.
As Poll Hero points out, being a poll worker is something tangible older teens and young adults can to do to help protect democracy and lessen the barriers to vote that people of color often encounter, including a lack of polling stations and long lines. And the position pays anywhere from $75-500, depending on the location and length of shift.
It’s important to point out that we are still in a pandemic and being a poll worker does not come without the same risks you’d have in any other indoor public space. Poll Hero offers these health considerations for potential poll workers, as well as questions to ask local election officials about the safety precautions being put in place and what to bring with them on Election Day.
To get started, you can click here to sign up (or contact your local election office directly).
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