LACK OF POLL WORKERS

A lack of poll workers is becoming evident around the country.

This year, there are a lack of poll workers both locally and nationally.

floridapoliticalreview.com

This year, there are a lack of poll workers both locally and nationally.

Election officials around the country are in search of poll workers as Election Day approaches. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many poll workers have opted out of volunteering to work on election day.

Because fewer people are volunteering, there are not as many polling locations available. This means that, come Nov. 3, people may either have to drive long distances to cast their ballots or wait in long lines.

Poll workers are getting older and fewer younger adults are stepping up to volunteer,” Ms. Colleen Renner, the Park County Clerk, said. “This year has been different in that COVID concerns have also reduced the number of older individuals that had normally volunteered in the past.”

This is not just a national issue. In August, Wyoming held its primary elections; of the normal 160-170 judges in Park County, there were only approximately 62.

“In a ‘normal’ year we would have nine polling locations,” Ms. Renner said. “For the [primary] that was held in August we opened four locations.”

However, with older generations stepping down as poll workers around the country, millennials are stepping up. This follows the trend of young people getting more civically engaged, especially this past year.

“[Katherine] Kortum, a 36-year-old transportation engineer in the District, figures it’s only right she step up,” an article from The Washington Post about millennials becoming election judges said. “Kortum is one of a record number of residents in their 20s and 30s who have signed up to fill jobs vacated by veteran poll workers, officials say, addressing an urgent need for the upcoming presidential election no one could have anticipated a year ago.”

Poll workers have signed up to volunteer this election for a number of different reasons and motives; and volunteers with diverse backgrounds and beliefs are stepping up. 

“[Some poll workers] say they were motivated to sign up because of the increasingly polarizing presidential election,” the same Washington Post article said. “An 18-year-old Black woman in Prince George’s County says she was inspired by the national reckoning on race. A 29-year-old former Marine in Fairfax County wants to ensure confidence in the election results.”

It is easy to sign up to become a poll worker this election. Locally, one can contact the Park County Elections office. You must be at least 16 years old to apply and attend a training session.