The US goes to the polls in a few days. In a normal situation, retired persons would volunteer to act as poll workers. However, this time things are different. The elderly are staying back at home to protect themselves from COVID-19. This time the nation’s youth have stepped in to fulfill this important civic event.
Power The Polls’
A web developer from San Francisco started a website to check if citizens would buy pizza for people waiting in a queue to cast their votes at polling stations. ‘Pizza to the Polls’ was the name given to the website. However, the web developer learned that poll station workers were scarce. Therefore he changed the purpose and the name of the website, which now reads ‘Power the polls.’
The website has been able to recruit 450,000 poll volunteers. It was 200,000 above the expected target of a quarter million. Usually, the average age of poll workers used to be between 60 to 70 years. However, this time the majority of poll volunteers are between 18-35 years.
The COVID-19 epidemic has forced the senior poll workers to take part in the electoral exercise. Senior citizens remain highly susceptible to the COVID-19 virus.
‘Power the Polls’ has brought youth volunteers, associations, and corporations under one roof. It will ensure poll workers get PPE kit, training, and financial incentives. The corporate world has also contributed its bit and provided workers paid time off to do poll duties.
Educate The Poll Workers
Different Civil associations like AARP and the Association of Young Americans have joined hands and helped spread the need for poll workers. Talking to Good News Network, John Hishta, AARP’s senior vice president of campaigns, said a need to educate the poll workers. Tidying up, helping people in trouble, keeping the machines functional, and reporting poll data are the poll worker’s responsibilities.