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Many do not know there is a national poll worker shortage on an election year. This is not just any election year, this is one where we are going through record-high unemployment, a global pandemic, and racial divide. With so much at stake in this year’s election regardless of which side you are on, voting is the answer. Yet, the general election is less than 100 days away, and so many have failed to realize that COVID-19 has only made voting and staffing polling stations nearly impossible. However, Gen Z can change that.


The majority of poll workers are over the age of 60. They have been the backbone of our democracy for years because of their work in the polls. Consequently, COVID-19 has put these members of our communities at high-risk for becoming seriously ill if exposed to the virus. During the primaries, many felt unsafe working, obviously, and had to back out—the lack of staff caused hour-long lines, polling station closures, and delays in voting. Without sufficient poll workers, voters face even more significant obstacles. Specifically, in minority communities, voters can face possible disenfranchisement or the inability to cast their votes locally.


So, to the fellow members of Generation Z, I present you with a choice. Do you want to help protect democracy? Even if you cannot vote, you can still make a change and get paid to protect our democracy.


For members of Gen Z that are 16 or older in most states, you can pre-register/register to vote AND become a poll worker in your local community. On election day, as a poll worker, you will be ensuring a safe polling place, registering voters, explaining voting procedures, or even passing out “I Voted” stickers. The tasks sound relatively simple; however, they make a difference in ensuring an outcome for the national election.


The choice is yours.


Sign up today at powerthepolls.org/




Isabel Rodriguez (she/her, 18) is a Latina woman based in California. She is a student at Cal Poly Pomona and plans on studying Communications with an emphasis on Public Relations. During her free time, she is a freelance writer covering intersectional feminism, environmentalism, voting, and any issues affecting underrepresented or minority communities. Find her on Instagram @isabel.rodriiguezz.


By: Isabel Rodriguez


Did you know that the Presidential election is not the only time you should be casting your vote? While the Presidential election happens every four years, the congressional election happens every two, and state and local elections are every year. Why is this important? Typically, voters view the presidential election as the most influential. However, state and local elections impact you more directly.

State and Local elections are often the changes that seen most in your community. Remember that tax increase? Voters put that into place during one of the local elections. Not every measure you are voting on is about increasing taxes or fixing streets; in some cases, you are voting for progressive and monumental change.

Gen Z must begin to establish their presence in these as well. Researchers at Portland State University analyzed 23 million voting records from 50 different U.S cities to better understand the participants in local elections. Turnout in 10 of America’s 30 largest cities was less than 15% (In Las Vegas, Ft. Worth, and Dallas, attendance was in the single digits.). The median age of voters was 57 (City residents 65 and older were 15 times more likely to cast a ballot than younger residents between the ages of 18 and 34.)

So while there is this push for more people to vote, we must not forget that elections are not just every four years, they are yearly, and each of them is important.

Where do I find a sample Ballot?

  1. Sample Ballot Lookup

  2. Find My State or Local Election Office Website

  3. YOUR VOTERS' GUIDE-Personalized Ballot Information

How do I continue to be involved after this November election on a local or state wide level?

  1. Get Familiar with your local and State representatives

  2. Volunteer. Donate. Raise your concerns. Be an active community member.

  3. 2020 Election Coverage by Office

  4. Become a Poll Worker

  5. Poll Workers are still needed for local and state wide elections!

  6. Work Elections

  7. Listen in on State and Local Government Meetings a. You can watch several different government council meetings as well as others online or on your cable network. Below are some of the laws that are in place to provide you with access and go into more detail: i. Access to State and Local Meeting Laws



Isabel Rodriguez (she/her, 18) is a Latina woman based in California. She is a student at Cal Poly Pomona and plans on studying Communications with an emphasis on Public Relations. During her free time, she is a freelance writer covering intersectional feminism, environmentalism, voting, and any issues affecting underrepresented or minority communities. Find her on Instagram @isabel.rodriiguezz.

Updated: Aug 8, 2020

Voting is not always just about oneself; it is for the greater good. This election year, I will vote for those who do not see the importance of voting and those who can not.


Undocumented. Formerly Incarcerated. Disabled.


During an election, it is imperative to remember that those who need the most often go unheard. Listed above are groups of people not allowed to even cast their vote. So with that, thousands of people live and participate in society yet cannot voice their opinions and concerns and take part in casting their vote. I vote for them.


Financially-Insecure Americans.


Americans who typically are cast out of society and not offered a seat at any political table are less likely to vote, but change usually hurts them the most. I vote for them.


“Those financially insecure people were much less likely to vote than the people with firmer financial footing. In that lowest-security group, only 20 percent of people were "likely voters" in that September-October 2014 survey (according to a Pew scale that determined a person's likelihood of voting). But the likelihood of voting goes up as financial security does — 63 percent of the most financially secure Americans were considered "likely voters.” [1]


Voter Suppression.


Lastly, across the United States, Voter suppression exists and affects BIPOC members of the community. I vote for them.


“Nine percent of black respondents and 9 percent of Hispanic respondents indicated that, in the last election, they (or someone in their household) were told that they lacked the proper identification to vote. Just 3 percent of whites said the same. Ten percent of black respondents and 11 percent of Hispanic respondents reported that they were incorrectly told that they weren't listed on voter rolls, as opposed to 5 percent of white respondents. In all, across just about every issue identified as a common barrier to voting, Black and Hispanic respondents were twice as likely, or more, to have experienced those barriers as white respondents.” Additionally, one in 10 Hispanics said that the last time they or someone in their household tried to vote, they were bothered at the polls. [2]


Voting is a right and should be given to anyone residing in the country. However, since that is not the case, I vote to amplify all of their voices, protect them from any harmful policy, and ensure our future—one that guarantees democracy and freedom.



References


[1] "Fact Check: Bernie Sanders And Whether Poor ... - NPR." 25 Apr. 2016, https://www.npr.org/2016/04/25/475613276/fact-check-bernie-sanders-and-whether-poor-americans-vote. Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.


[2] "Voter Suppression Is Warping Democracy - The Atlantic." 17 Jul. 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/07/poll-prri-voter-suppression/565355/. Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.



Isabel Rodriguez (she/her, 18) is a Latina woman based in California. She is a student at Cal Poly Pomona and plans on studying Communications with an emphasis on Public Relations. During her free time, she is a freelance writer covering intersectional feminism, environmentalism, voting, and any issues affecting underrepresented or minority communities. Find her on Instagram @isabel.rodriiguezz.




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