Need for Polling Place Workers Growing

Member Says it’s a Great Opportunity to Serve Your Community

So much work goes into elections before the actual election day (think campaigns), it’s easy to forget how much work is needed to pull off a successful election (think of your polling place).

All polling places need workers to keep things running smoothly on Election Day, but sometimes it’s difficult to find people to help out. As retirees age, the need for new polling place workers is increasing.

“I can’t find enough people to work the elections — to actually work inside and help people vote — and that’s a problem,” said Tamera Feener, an SEA/SEIU Local 1984 member who’s moderator of her ward in Franklin.

Depending on the community and the position, some election day workers are volunteers and others are paid. Some of the jobs are appointed positions, while others require that you be elected. If you’d like to help out in your community, Feener suggested calling your town or city clerk to find out if there’s a need. Even if there isn’t at that moment, she noted, you can be put on a waiting list.

In many communities, polling places are primarily staffed by retirees, which makes sense because they have free time during the day. People who are still working would need to take a day off to help out with voting, which can be a deterrent. But relying on retirees can be problematic.

“The retirees who work in my ward are getting to the point that they can’t do it anymore,” Feener said.

Feener said this creates an opportunity for younger generations to step in and take up the torch.

“If you believe in the right to vote — the privilege of voting, really — this is a way to give back to your community,” she said. “It’s like Kennedy said, ‘ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.’”

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