Elections, on all levels, are important to ensure that people around America have their views represented by elected officials and measures on a local, state, and federal level. In California, as the spread of coronavirus and the danger of wildfire smoke lead many to stay home or vote by mail, many polling stations are worried about not having enough poll workers.
According to the CDC, older adults are at the highest risk of “severe illness” for a multitude of reasons. This is also an issue because the same age demographic, ages 61 and older, also makes up 58% of poll workers. As many people who would have registered to work at the polls need to stay home for health reasons, other people are going to need to staff the polls.
As polling stations are working to recruit workers there are organizations forming to meet the needs of polling stations with the goal of preserving democracy and ensuring the integrity of the election. One of these organizations is called Power to the Polls, which encourages people to register and work the polls.
The Power to the Polls website explains the dangers of not having enough poll workers. During many primaries, “poll worker shortages led to long lines and voter disenfranchisement”. Registering lower risk individuals to work the polls is extremely important in order to make polling accessible to those who wish to vote in person.
The poll worker portal can be found here, and this work is available to all registered California voters, legal residents, and high school students. Poll workers are extremely important to helping elections on all levels run smoothly.
Power to the Polls aims to have 250,000 people registered to work the polls in less than 50 days so they can be trained before November. Democratic integrity is bipartisan and any person who is able should register to work the polls.
Being multilingual is extremely helpful but not required when working in the polls. In California, voting is available in different languages by county where it was deemed necessary based on the amount of native speakers in the county.
In many places poll workers are paid a stipend or given checks for each day of work, the amount varies by county but the experience of working in the polls and contributing to the community should also provide incentive to work the polls.