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.
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.