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Recruiting Poll Workers to Power Elections

Overview

Poll workers are essential to the functioning of our democracy on Election Day. These citizens make sure the process is run fairly and efficiently by staffing check-in tables, answering questions, assisting people with voting machines, and ensuring that issues are escalated to the appropriate authorities.

In 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, states throughout the country saw a large drop off in poll worker recruitment. Many of the older adults who used to staff polls did not sign up to work the polls at the same rate as in the past. This crisis came to a head during the Wisconsin primary election on April 7, 2020, where the City of Milwaukee was forced to reduce their polling locations from 180 to just five. Other cities had up to 77% reductions in polling places due to staffing issues.

In order to help address this shortage, we partnered with Power the Polls, a collaboration of nonprofits and private sector companies uniting to reach hundreds of thousands of potential poll workers to meet the needs generated by the massive 2020 recruitment gap.

Collectively, over 700,000 people signed up to serve as the next generation of poll workers. Thanks to their outpouring of interests, local elections offices were flooded with enough staff to help administer the highest-turnout election in over a century.

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