The 2020 election was like none other for those volunteering to serve as a poll worker.
There was so much anxiety and tension across America making it difficult for those poll workers on the front line. Sadly, those volunteers who wanted to give back to their community faced much voter frustration throughout the day, however most of those who served understood that comes with the territory.
According to Pew Research, 58 percent of all poll workers were 60 plus and a meager 4 percent of those who were in the 18-15 age bracket during the 2018 general election. Our older population has always been there when we need them, but COVID-19 made life very difficult for our elders to vote and to serve as a poll worker.
Due to the Coronavirus, there was a nationwide poll worker shortage, but an unexpected group stepped up to fill the void, the high school and college age students. By recognizing this challenge, an energetic team of Princeton University students came together and founded The Poll Hero Project. The goal: get young people engaged and involved in volunteering to serve as poll workers. Nineteen year old, Kai Tsurumaki, co-founder of The Poll Hero Project understood the many problems COVID-19 placed on older workers and expanded their mission to recruit young poll workers nationwide. Through their extraordinary recruitment efforts, The Poll Hero Project estimated registering over 32,500 poll workers!
The responsibilities for those serving as a poll worker are many. Overall, they are tasked with keeping the polling station orderly, organized and efficient. Some of the duties include checking in voters, providing ballots and monitoring activity.
The pay for service is minimal. Most states average around $100-$150 per day. On many occasions, the workday is very long starting around 6:00 AM and ending at 8:00 PM. To sweeten the pot, there has been a move in the corporate community to pay their employees up to eight hours of work if they decide to be a poll worker. Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic are a few of the names who made the honorable move.
For those interested in signing up to work as a poll worker, you are needed. It is simple. All you need to do is contact the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. You can reach them here to sign up.
Even though there is no fanfare for making the sacrifice to serve as a poll worker, it is a wonderful gesture that will be cherished for a lifetime. There is nothing better than helping serve others while assisting your community. We are so grateful for our older Americans for their relentless service, and to the younger generation for jumping in to fill the gap to serve. You are all heroes!