Seeking a few good poll workers

With states, including Virginia, reporting critical shortages of poll workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has designated September 1, 2020 as National Poll Worker Recruitment Day.

The special day was established to encourage more people, particularly young people, to sign up to become election workers for the November election and raise awareness about the benefits and importance of working at the polls.

Virginia calls its poll workers Officers of Election. Christopher Piper, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections, said Officers of Election are the unsung heroes of our democracy.

"They put in long hours making sure everything runs smoothly on Election Day," Piper said. "And a lot of them have been doing it for many years."

But because they are generally older and therefore at high risk from COVID-19, many experienced Officers of Election will not be able to serve in 2020. 

"We need to make up for that shortfall with people who aren't considered as high risk to keep polling places open and operating smoothly," Piper said.

“Becoming an Officer of Election is a great way to become engaged in our democracy,” Piper said.

"If you're asking 'What can I do to help?' at this moment, becoming an Officer of Election is certainly one answer. You'll be helping Virginians who want to vote in-person on Election Day exercise their basic right."

You can learn more about what the job entails and apply at elections.virginia.gov/officer or by contacting your local voter registration office. You can find contact information at elections.virginia.gov/localVRO.

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