So, in case you haven't heard, there's a pretty huge US election happening in just a couple of weeks. And it's super important that you register to vote and, y'know, vote in it.
BUT, there's something else you should also consider when it comes to the 2020 Election: becoming a poll worker!
What are poll workers? Well, much like the name suggests, poll workers work the polls and keep things running smoothly on Election Day! They help set up and break down polling locations, verify voters' identities, pass out "I Voted" stickers, and many more important tasks. Basically, they're super essential to helping literally millions of Americans cast their votes each election cycle.
Now, you might be wondering: Why should I consider being a poll worker this year??? Don't worry, I'm here to tell ya.
Most poll workers are volunteers around retirement age. In fact, 58% of poll workers were over the age of 61 in 2016. That presents a pretty big safety issue when you think about the fact that this election is being held in the age of COVID-19, a virus that presents a serious threat to older citizens, especially if those citizens have underlying medical conditions.
Bottom line: It's just not safe for seniors to be interacting with thousands of voters on Election Day, and as a result, many are opting to stay home this year. Hey, I get it!
But that also means polling locations across the country are at risk of being understaffed, which could mean long lines and hundreds of people missing out on their opportunity to vote and make their voices heard.
Which brings us to you! If you’re considered to be "low-risk" for COVID-19 (aka you're of a younger age and do not have any underlying medical conditions), and you're in a position where you can safely work the polls on Election Day...
Most poll workers are paid for their time, and many local jurisdictions are working to provide PPE so everyone can feel safe volunteering at the polls during the pandemic. If you're concerned about what PPE will be provided in your location, you can find the contact info for your local officials here.
Plus, on top of being paid and protected, you get the satisfaction and fulfillment of knowing that you contributed to a free and fair election! What more could you ask for?!
And hey, listen, I know working the polls on Election Day might not sound super fun or exciting, and with how intense and overwhelming 2020 has been, it's totally understandable if you're feeling like you just wanna send in your ballot and call it a day.
But the fact is that this election is a Pretty Big Deal™. There are a ton of important issues at stake, like LGBTQ+ rights, women's rights, healthcare, racial injustice, the environment, and our government's response to the pandemic, just to name a few.
Everyone's vote in this election MATTERS, and it also matters that everyone has the access and ability to vote safely, no matter how they choose to do it.
So, please, consider becoming a poll worker this year! You can check out Power the Polls for more information on how to apply.
And if you haven't already, please, please, PLEASE register to vote! It only takes a few minutes, and you can visit And Still I Vote to get started.
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