Aug. 23 is National Poll Worker Recruitment Day. This day of action was launched by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to encourage Americans to help fellow Americans vote by signing up to be poll workers. By encouraging more people to become poll workers in their communities, National Poll Worker Recruitment Day addresses the critical shortage of poll workers –and strengthens our democracy, inspires greater civic engagement and volunteerism, and helps America vote.
The reasons to join the ranks are legion. Here are merely seven of them.
1. You're defending democracy.
By helping to execute fair and transparent elections, you play a crucial role in upholding the principles of democracy and maintaining public trust in the electoral system. In the current era of disinformation and, well, we’ll just say it – flat-out lies about the integrity of our elections, nothing is more important. Go from “someone should do something” to “I’ll do something.” And do it for democracy.
2. It's a great learning experience.
To paraphrase Hamilton, being a poll worker allows you to be in the room where it happens. You’ll gain firsthand insight into how elections are conducted, the procedures involved, and the behind-the-scenes work that goes into organizing a successful election. The more people who understand how elections work, the more confidence they have in them. Put another way: When election workers go from being referred to as they to being referred to as we, America wins.
3. It's a short-term commitment.
In Nebraska, working at the polls involves one day – Election Day – of commitment. This fact alone makes it a relatively manageable way to give back to your community and state without an extensive, long-term commitment. After a solid day’s work on Election Day, make plans to sleep in on Wednesday, secure in the knowledge of a job well done.
4. You reflect your community's diversity and values.
We hear a lot about how representation matters in movies, music, and TV, which is true. But it matters a lot on Election Day. Your involvement can help our polling places reflect the diversity of the community and welcome all Nebraskans. This includes making sure polling places are accessible to all voters regardless of their physical abilities or language barriers.
5. You get paid.
On Election Day, Nebraska employs some 9,000 poll workers to ensure our elections are fair and trouble-free. While compensation varies by location and specific duty, all Nebraska jurisdictions offer financial compensation for our poll workers. You won’t get rich, but it also won’t cost you to spend a day helping democracy.
6. You're defending voting rights.
Through the administration of tried-and-true systems and processes that have made Nebraska’s elections the envy of the nation, poll workers help safeguard the rights of voters. Poll workers are the main reason an overwhelming number of Nebraska voters have smooth, trouble-free experiences at the polls.
7. It's patriotic.
Other than the act of voting itself, being a poll worker is the most practical way to express your commitment to your state, your country, and your dedication to preserving our shared democratic values.
U.S. elections have long been an inspiration to thre rest of the world – but they’re not a simple process, and they don’t run on autopilot. Joining the ranks of patriotic poll workers is one of the most important acts that we can do to serve, protect, and expand our democracy.