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Why You Should Become a Poll Worker for Election Day

In unprecedented times where voting in-person may mean risking exposure to a deadly microscopic virus, more focus has shifted to the safety and validity of voting-by-mail. But where the effectiveness of absentee ballots dominate conversations, the lack of poll workers and the safety of in-person voting are left almost forgotten.  

Luckily for new voters (and seasoned voters as well), the Poll Hero Project is the answer to these unsolved questions!  

What is the Poll Hero Project?

Thanks to a group of university and high school students, the Poll Hero Project was born. Initially, the conversation and mission surrounding Poll Hero was focused on federal funding support for mail-in-voting. But when the national conversation shifted from in-person voting to absentee ballots, leaving unanswered questions about poll workers in the midst, the Poll Hero Project sought to fix what voting experts deemed to be one of the most significant unmet requirements for the 2020 election. 

Election disasters from Georgia and Wisconsin were evidence for Poll Hero that poll workers are a must. With most poll workers being older Americans with health risks, leaving them more vulnerable to COVID-19 and less likely to participate in this upcoming election, protecting voter’s rights while voting in person is at stake. That’s why Poll Hero is asking you to protect and uphold democracy and non-partisanship by volunteering as a poll worker. 

Let’s Talk Health and Safety 

Before you’re riled up and are ready to hit that “sign up” button, it’s important to consider the health and safety risks of becoming a poll worker. First, if you have underlying health conditions, maybe it’s best to sit this one out and find alternative ways to help poll workers. 

Second, if you do get sick, are you able to isolate yourself from older people or people with health conditions? If not, again, there are other ways to support Poll Hero without volunteering! 

Lastly, if risking your health by becoming a poll worker brings you severe anxiety, volunteering as a poll worker isn’t worth the mental stress, trust me. 

How to Get Involved

If you’re still awaiting to find out how you can get involved, here’s the first step: Sign up to become a poll worker! Next, print out Poll Hero’s designated checklist and hang it up on your wall. You should receive an official form from Poll Hero where you must complete and fill out all of the necessary information. After that, research and learn what poll workers do! It’s important to know what your potential responsibilities are and how you’re pivotal to in-person voting. The Wisconsin Elections Commission has explained everything here

Once you’ve completed every form, you must take poll worker training in your district. After that, you should receive your assignment for Election Day, and receive an excused absence if needed. Remember to prep for Election Day by buying necessary safety equipment and planning a way to arrive at the polls early. Lastly, email Poll Hero a picture of you working the polls!

Still unsure about volunteering as a poll worker? Poll Hero is giving points for each step you complete on their checklist, giving you a chance to earn raffle tickets! You can also watch their TikTok videos and see the benefits of poll working: earning $200 in a day, upholding democracy, preventing the closure of polling locations –the list goes on.

Most of us are going to be voting by mail—I know I am—but everyone doesn’t have the privilege of doing so. Polling locations are closing left and right, leaving voters with limited options to cast their ballots. That’s why Poll Hero needs your help to keep polling locations open, so that democracy stays unbroken.

Melanie Curry

Emerson '21

Emerson College Journalism Student. Class of 2020. Lifestyle/Arts Reporter for Berkeley Beacon HerCampus Writer
Gina was formerly the Beauty & Culture Editor at Her Campus, where she oversaw content and strategy for the site's key verticals. She was also the person behind @HerCampusBeauty, and all those other glowy selfies you faved. She got her start in digital media as a Campus Correspondent at HC Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where she graduated in 2017 with degrees in English and Theater. Now, Gina is an LA-based writer and editor, and you can regularly find her wearing a face mask in bed and scrolling through TikTok.