New York elections on Monday announced a push for recruiting poll workers for the November general election amid a shortage due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The push comes a day before National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, which is meant to address the shortage ahead of early voting and the Nov. 3 vote.
“By encouraging more people to become poll workers in their communities, National Poll Worker Recruitment Day aims to address the critical shortage of poll workers, strengthen our democracy, inspire greater civic engagement and volunteerism, and help ensure free and fair elections in November and beyond,” said Robert Brehm, the co-executive director of the State Board of Elections.
Poll workers tend to be older people, a demographic considered more vulnerable to the virus. More than half of poll workers in New York are over the age of 60.
This year poll workers are being tasked with facilitating social distancing, sanitizing equipment as well as assisting voters.
“Amid COVID-19, New York is facing a critical shortage of poll workers,” said Douglas Kellner, State Commissioner of Elections. “Even as New York expands absentee voting options, millions of New Yorkers – especially voters with disabilities and those who lack reliable mail service – will continue to rely on in-person voting to cast a ballot.”
Poll workers must be at least 17 years old and are assigned within the county where they live.