The National Watch is Working the Polls. Are You?
The year 2020 has presented itself as perhaps the most challenging year for the nation in modern history – a pandemic, an economic crisis, a social justice uprising, international discourse, an election. Sparsely do we get to a point in our lives where multiple crises like these converge, and we get to champion the recovery and stand up for a belief so deeply ingrained in us, a greater sense of purpose, a democracy. The 2020 election will be historic, regardless of the outcome, and Americans should want to guarantee a fair outcome.
Seemingly daily, there is divisiveness over voting methods. Either with the legality of states sending mail in ballot applications to all registered voters, or in some cases, with mail in ballots themselves. Questions have arisen regarding the abilities of the United States Postal Service to serve the expanded demand for mail in ballots, regardless of government assurances that it can be handled. Heightened concerns of voter fraud have also been raised, citing the potential issues with early voting and depositing mail in ballots to drop boxes.
The health concerns of Americans standing in a line, or indoor spaces, with strangers are valid. The concerns of Americans seeing their fellow citizenry ignore the election all together is also valid. The sheer number of seasoned poll workers who may want to stay home this year because of the coronavirus, is valid. Americans wanting everyone to vote that can, and make sure their vote is counted, is valid.
To be extremely clear – the single most imperative action we can take right now as Americans is to sign up to work the polls on election day. With the senior population rightfully sensitive to the current pandemic, it may fall on the younger generation to stand in, and stand up, for the most sacred footing of our democracy: voting. As a registered voter, placing that ballot in the box can be one of the best feelings a patriot has. A democracy only works when there is active participation through voting, and working the polls can help ensure voting success.
To anyone seeking a calling in today’s anxious world, and feels healthy enough to be in public, serving as a poll worker is one way to be politically active while also remaining nonpartisan. Here are a few reasons why now is perfect time to start:
Take a look around your local precinct next time you’re there to vote. There are likely “help needed” signs. The total eligible voting population is around 231 million Americans. The election day rush can be reduced when Americans either vote early, vote by mail, or don’t vote, but there is still a need for election day assistance. The 2016 election had approximately 138 million voters and 918,000 poll workers. Assuming a simple math calculation, a poll worker could see 150 voters on average. A survey from the Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS), below, showed that at least 64.6% of jurisdiction respondents indicated difficulty recruiting poll workers.
So, How Do I Sign Up?
Step 1 – Check your voter status – poll workers typically must be registered to vote.
Step 2 – Visit your County or local municipality's webpage. Googling “[Your County/Municipality] poll worker” should do the trick.
Step 3 – Follow the webpage instructions to sign up
All poll workers will require a training prior to election day. Election day shifts can be as long as 12 hours, so comfortable shoes and socks are suggested. If you’re concerned about COVID PPE, check with your supervisor of elections to see what mask mandates will be in place. The CDC currently recommends wearing masks in public. Face shields are not officially recommended, but any extra precaution is an individual choice. Above all, if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable working the polls this year, that’s a respectable position and this article is not intended to pressure anyone.
See you at the polls. –The National Watch Team