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Power the Polls

Serve as a Poll Worker

Help ensure a free, fair, and safe election for all voters in your community

Posted August 24, 2020

Background & Context

Power the Polls is a first-of-its-kind initiative to recruit poll workers to ensure a safe, fair election for all voters. Power the Polls is focusing on healthy, low-risk candidates to ensure that those workers most susceptible to the coronavirus are given the space to take care of their health, while still keeping polling sites open and available for efficient in-person voting. Power the Polls is also working with local organizations and partners to help election officials provide PPE.

Despite this tremendous success, we still have a few remaining high-needs jurisdictions that need your support, including:

Polk County, FL (Kissimmee and Lakeland)
Flint, MI
San Antonio, TX
Green Bay, WI

Immediate Problem

This is a critical moment. America is in the midst of a nationwide poll worker shortage.

Most poll workers are over the age of 60 and, in the era of uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, fewer are signing up for the job (source).

The consequences have already been felt in several recent primaries, where poll worker shortages led to long lines and voter disenfranchisement. For example, 95% of past poll workers in Anchorage, AK, declined to work the polls this year, and the state of Kentucky consolidated in-person voting in each county to a single polling place during the primary due to poll worker recruitment concerns.

Work & Deliverables

Potential applicants will be directed to sign up in the specific counties where they are eligible. Local jurisdictions are ultimately responsible for selecting and training poll workers.

Poll workers handle many tasks to keep polling places running efficiently, safely, and legally. These include helping voters check in, understand their ballots, and cast their votes and supporting physical safety by maintaining distance between voters in lines and wiping down voting machines.

Project Plan

Preparation Phase

  • Follow directions on how to sign up where eligible to serve
  • Local jurisdictions will contact and train people selected to serve

Collaboration Phase

  • Poll workers will complete training provided by local jurisdictions
  • Poll workers will work scheduled shifts at polling locations

Wrap Up

Details to be provided at a later date

This project is complete!

This project has been completed thanks to the efforts of our volunteers.

Visit the Project Directory to check out other projects that still need your help!

Additional Information

  • Time Commitment: 11-20 hours
  • Training Provided: Yes
  • Additional Training Details: Poll workers will receive training from election administration officials.
  • Site-Preference: Remote
  • Open to Law Students: Yes
  • Additional Location Details: We're recruiting poll workers to staff in-person polling locations across the country.
  • Bar License(s) required: Any Bar License
  • Required Languages: None
  • Required Legal Expertise: None
  • Mentoring Provided: No
  • Supervision Provided: Yes
Power the Polls

We’re a nonpartisan organization bringing together nonprofits and businesses like Civic Alliance, Comedy Central, Fair Elections Center, Pizza to the Polls, and MTV in a coalition to recruit the next generation of poll workers. Poll workers are vital to the democratic process – they tabulate votes, set up polling sites, and work to minimize the wait time for voters. Beyond staffing polling places on Election day, some poll workers also cover early voting and count absentee ballots after the election. We will be providing PPE to poll workers who sign up to help keep our elections efficient, fair, and safe. Unfortunately, we are facing a severe shortage of poll workers, which in turn means we’re at risk of losing a number of in-person polling locations across the country. In 2016, an estimated 57% of the 900,000 poll workers were over the age of 60 – a group particularly vulnerable to COVID. In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, seasoned poll workers are opting out of these roles without anyone to take their place. We have already seen the consequences of the poll worker shortage adversely impact voters in primaries across the country. Recruiting a younger, more diverse cohort of poll workers is crucial to preventing election officials and lawmakers from using the poll worker shortage as an excuse to close polling places and limit in-person voting in this historic election year.

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