Usually, when the election rolls around, you see retired people stepping in to act as poll workers, but because of Covid, America’s elderly are encouraged to stay home for their health and safety.
With the lack of senior citizen support this upcoming election, the nation’s youth have stepped up to take on this civic duty.
The majority of young citizens volunteering their time are between the ages of 18-35. Usually, the normal battalion of America’s volunteer poll workers include more than 70% of whom are between 60-70 years of age, reports Good News Network.
One way the country is gaining volunteers is through Power the Polls. a first-of-its-kind initiative to recruit poll workers to ensure a safe, fair election for all voters. Their goal was to recruit at least 200,000 volunteers, but they have already recruited nearly 500,000 so far.
“They are willing to take on the risk, and it fits the pattern of young people getting more engaged. One of the things that has started to become more apparent to people at a young age is what is at stake,” says Michael Hanmer, a government and politics professor at the University of Maryland.
According to The Washington Post, many of the young poll workers say they feel relatively safe from the most devastating effects of the coronavirus, given their age and the precautions local election officials are taking, such as providing protective equipment and implementing physical distancing rules. But they also know being young does not make them immune.
In some states, poll workers can be as young as 16 years old. Election officials hope the young recruits return for future elections, making it their new civic tradition and creating a “new generation of poll workers,” Joey Garrison of USA TODAY writes.