Groups are racing to recruit poll workers amid concerns about staffing shortages. Here’s what we can help you with:

But at 16, too young to vote, he felt powerless to change anything. Until you see an ad on your TV screen for Power the Polls, a new group recruiting poll workers. “I thought, ‘That’s my answer,'” Keshamouni recalled recently.

During the primary election that August, he found himself on staff for the Detroit middle school precinct. I realized that the time and opportunity to vote are not the same,” he said.

This year, Keshamouni, now 19 and entering her sophomore year at the University of Michigan, is back at it again, planning to conduct polls in the Detroit area. in NovemberSo did Power the Polls, launched by a coalition of nonprofits and business groups, to help nearly 700,000 poll workers nationwide to address pandemic-related staffing shortages during the 2020 elections. was helpful in recruiting
As fall election season State and local officials and nonprofits are stepping up efforts to find new workers for the midterm elections. Recruitment efforts are on the rise as partisan divisions widen and election officials continue to endure intimidation and harassment.
About 1 in 5 election workers A survey published earlier this year They are likely to quit their jobs before the 2024 presidential election, according to the liberal-leaning Brennan Center for Justice. I gave it as a reason.

Aging workforce

Jane Slusser, program manager at Power the Polls, says an estimated 1 million temporary workers are needed for each election.

And while there is no central database of the needs of poll workers across the country, election experts are constantly working to find sufficient numbers, especially since the current cohort of poll workers is away from these jobs. He says he is having a hard time.

According to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, most poll workers are traditionally 61 and older.

“Elections officials, large and small, across the country are struggling to find poll workers to help staff polling stations, process and count ballots, and perform other essential duties. We do,” the Wisconsin Election Commission administrator said in a recent statement.

Power the Polls officials say they have recruited more than 50,000 potential vote workers since relaunching the campaign in May, with a focus on closing the gap in nearly 20 states.

“We’re seeing a shortage again,” Slusser said. “People who’ve been doing it for 40 years are starting to take their hats off. We’ve also seen a lack of awareness that this is a problem. In a presidential year, people think a lot about elections.” In the midterm elections, people don’t think much about this.”

Election officials said they were particularly interested in finding workers who were bilingual, knew American Sign Language, and had basic technical skills, such as proficiency with an iPad or tablet. Slusser said.

“The machines we vote for today look very different from the machines we voted for 20 or 10 years ago,” she added.

Wanted: Lawyers, Veterans

We also carry out other recruitment activities.

For example, the American Bar Association, in partnership with the All-American Association of Secretary of State and National Election Commissions, encourages lawyers, law students, and other legal professionals to serve as poll workers.

And a new organization, Vet the Vote, which launched in May, is focused on getting veterans and active-duty military families into the pollster pool.

Ellen Gustafson, who is married to a naval officer and is one of the group’s leaders, said the organization wants to “normalize” the idea of ​​veterans taking polls as part of their return to civic life. said.

“This is a place where veterans can feel like they’re using their skills and talents for America again,” she said.

Vet the Vote hopes to eventually recruit about 100,000 poll workers, with veterans making up about 10% of the full-time workforce on Election Day over the next few years. The group now has about 50 enrollments a day for him and is working with the NFL to drive recruitment efforts for fall football games.

“We want diverse Americans to step into this role, and we want to make sure this doesn’t become a crisis for all generations as the next generation ages,” Gustav said. Sung added.

Back in Michigan, Keshamouni has been busy with his own recruiting campaign.

His mother, Shyamala, follows his lead to conduct a poll. He’s currently trying to convince his friends to sign up this fall, but he’s not always easy to sell.

“For kids my age, it sounds like a very tedious job. is producing.”

how to help

Eligibility varies by state, but here are resources to learn more about the jobs and how to sign up:

U.S. Election Assistance Commission:
Voting Scrutiny:
National Association of Secretary of State:

news update

It’s been a busy few weeks on the voting front in some of the key battleground states.

Wisconsin: In the battleground state of Wisconsin, A federal judge recently upheld Worked with groups of voters with disabilities to order election workers to allow friends and family members of voters with disabilities to turn in ballots on their behalf. State Supreme Court Decision in July He said voters must return their ballots in person.
Since then, Badger State has been a hotbed of election conspiracy theories President Joe Biden Flipped over to 2020.and now one Conservative activist charged In election fraud — after he demanded absentee ballots for other voters in a widely publicized effort to expose what he said were vulnerabilities in the state’s electoral system.

Michigan: A recent 2-2 stalemate on the Michigan campaign committee over a particular voting initiative has set off alarm bells among some voting rights activists.

Two Republicans on the board voted against allowing the initiative on the November ballot. protect abortion rights Expand voting access even though the Michigan Office of Elections recommends accreditation.

The group pushing the ballot measure appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, which holds a 4-3 Democratic majority. Spotlight on state commissions.

In 2020, then-Republican Aaron van Langevelde endured partisan pressure, Joined Democrats Proving Biden’s Victory in State –Barely avoiding a crisis. Another Republican abstained.

Both have since been replaced.

Nevada: As reported, the Nevada Secretary of State has issued rules for hand-counting ballots in the November election. This was after certain rural county commissioners questioned voting machines.Critics say hand-counting ballots can lead to confusion and delays.Last week, Nevada’s Progressive His Leadership Alliance Sued for trying to block regulations.
CNN’s Kyung Lah recently caught up with Jim Marchant, the Republican nominee for Nevada’s secretary of state, and others pushing the state’s’s worth look.

you need to read

  • Our take on the growing alarm in December 2018 Exodus of election officials, ahead of midterm exams in November. Even in red-hot Kentucky, officials face harassment and intimidation.
  • this Deep Dive with Votebeat About the long-running, ugly conflict that caused all three election staffers in Gillespie County, Texas, to recently resign.
  • Stephen Collinson’s CNN Analysis of last week On the same day as the former in a startling split-screen of Biden’s warnings about the dangers to democracy President Donald Trump He promised to grant amnesty to those involved in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
  • this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Story Federal election regulators dismissed complaints that Republican congressional candidates misused campaign funds to attend rallies before the Jan. 6 riots.
  • This report by CNN’s Dan Merica states: call on Democrats to invest If we don’t make more money in the Secretary of State race, we risk chaos in 2024.


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