By Grace Mersch
October 26, 2020
With the COVID-19 pandemic still looming over our daily lives, the election looks drastically different this year.
The number of absentee ballots (voting by mail) and early voters are remarkably high this year, and COVID-19 protocols are in place at the polls. The only thing that’s missing from this busy election: election workers.
Election workers, or poll workers, are workers at voting locations that assist citizens in finding the proper voting location, enforce fairness and security of the ballots and make sure the election process runs smoothly. This year, though, the country is facing a shortage of poll workers — who have a high elderly population — due to many peoples’ concern for their health and safety.
Because of this shortage, there has been a massive push by social media to get people to sign up to become a poll worker in preparation for this unprecedented and critical election. It’s even gaining local attention — a senior at Turpin High School has recruited 43 classmates to work at the polls this year.
But why is being a poll worker so important? Poll workers are a meaningful part of the election process. There’s no debate on the fact that the 2020 election is particularly significant, and if you are interested in having the honor of being a part of history through being a poll worker, this is the best time to sign up.
Poll workers are critical in maintaining fairness in an election and making sure every vote counts, especially in a world of fear and uncertainty regarding the integrity of the voting process like we live in now.
To be a student election worker, you must either be 18 years old and registered to vote, or 17 years old and a senior in high school. The work may be stressful, but it is also rewarding — you get a paycheck and a great addition to your college application, as well as a better understanding of one of the most cherished democratic processes in the country.
It is encouraged that people who are interested in becoming an election worker this year sign up as soon as possible. Conveniently, the Hamilton County Board of Elections is located just blocks away from Norwood High School, so a simple visit to the building or this website can help start your application process.If you want to learn more about becoming a poll worker, or even if you aren’t interested or qualified, activist group Power the Polls has resources you can use and share on social media to help spread the word on the current shortage of poll workers and learn more about what it takes. Their website can be found here.