FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2020
Established by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, awareness day to address critical shortage of election workers amid COVID-19 pandemic
WASHINGTON, DC – With election officials across the country reporting critical shortages of poll workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today announced the designation of September 1st, 2020 as National Poll Worker Recruitment Day to encourage more people to sign up to become election workers for the November election. National Poll Worker Recruitment Day aims to raise awareness about the benefits and importance of poll working and inspire more Americans to volunteer.
“Poll workers are the unsung heroes of the democratic process, and right now we’re facing a critical shortage of these dedicated volunteers,” said EAC Chairman Ben Hovland. “Recruiting poll workers is a challenge for many election officials across the country and the COVID-19 pandemic has made this need even more critical. We encourage Americans, who are able and willing to serve, to sign up to help America vote and work the polls on Election Day.”
While their specific duties and compensation vary depending on location, most jurisdictions task election workers with setting up and preparing the polling location, welcoming voters, verifying voter registrations, and issuing ballots. Poll workers also help ensure voters understand the voting process by demonstrating how to use voting equipment and explaining voting procedures. Election staff and volunteers are overseen by local election authorities, which also provides training in advance of Election Day.
“Working the polls on Election Day is a meaningful, rewarding way to strengthen our democracy – right in your community,” said EAC Vice Chair Don Palmer. “Across the country, we are seeing unprecedented levels of civic engagement in helping fellow citizens, but not enough people know about poll working as a volunteer opportunity – or being paid. National Poll Worker Recruitment Day aims to help fill that awareness gap and encourage more people to become poll workers and help ensure a safe and secure election for our democracy in November.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, America is facing a critical shortage of poll workers. Even as many states expand access to vote-by-mail and absentee voting options, millions of Americans – especially voters with disabilities and those who lack reliable mail service – will continue to rely on in-person voting options to cast a ballot.
Most poll workers have traditionally been over the age of 61, making them especially vulnerable to complications if they contract COVID-19. This has resulted in a critical need for poll workers who are willing and able to assist with the administration of in-person voting.
By encouraging more people to become poll workers in their communities, National Poll Worker Recruitment Day aims to address the critical shortage of poll workers, strengthen our democracy, inspire greater civic engagement and volunteerism, and help ensure free and fair elections in November and beyond.
More about poll working and National Poll Worker Recruitment Day is available at HelpAmericaVote.gov
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). It is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with ensuring secure, accurate and accessible elections by developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as administers the use of HAVA funds. For more information, visit www.eac.gov.
EAC Contact: Kristen Muthig