As most poll workers working during elections have traditionally been over the age of 65, the fact that they are particularly vulnerable if they contract COVID-19 means that a lot of them are hesitant to do the job this year. As a result, the Vigo County Voter Registration Office announced today that they will be participating in National Poll Worker Recruitment Day on Sept. 1 to encourage more people to sign up to work during the November election.
Established by the U. S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), 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.”
In Vigo County, poll workers’ specific duties and compensation vary, but all include welcoming voters, verifying registrations, directing voters to ballot scanners and explaining how to use voting equipment. Locally, election staff are overseen by our County Election Board and County Clerk’s Office, who provide information and training classes in advance of Election Day.
Poll workers must be a registered voter of Vigo County, have rudimentary computer skills and reliable transportation and be able to sit or stand for long periods of time. They cannot be related to any candidate on the ballot. They must attend a training class and pass a test prior to serving.
They must also be available to work throughout the voting process: Early voting begins on Tuesday, Oct. 6, and will run through Election Day on Nov. 3. Hours for early voting are 10 a.m.-6:00 p.m. weekdays (8 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Vigo County Courthouse Annex). Election Day hours are 6 a.m.-6 p.m.
Those interested in assisting should contact the Vigo County Voter Registration Office at (812) 462-3393, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.