Fair Elections Center enhances database for poll worker recruitment
To bridge the gap elections officials face to recruit a new generation of tech-savvy and bilingual poll workers, Fair Elections Center announces the expansion of its Work Elections initiative and the availability of workelections.com — a centralized web portal and database where individuals interested in becoming poll workers can be matched with their local jurisdiction’s poll working information and instantly apply.
The goal of the Work Elections initiative is to recruit a diverse poll worker base that better reflects the makeup of communities, helps meet the urgent need for volunteers, and opens the democratic process to more voters.
With support from Democracy Fund, Fair Elections Center’s Work Elections initiative is partnering with election officials to collect jurisdiction-specific poll worker requirements and links to applications. Local jurisdiction information is currently available for Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Fair Elections Center is actively working to add all 50 states through collaboration with local elections officials whose responses are directly added the workelections.com website, increasing the number of jurisdictions covered day-by-day.
Partnerships with businesses, service organizations, and nonprofits have also been established to broadcast the need for individuals to serve as poll workers to ensure every vote counts and help elections run more efficiently. Outreach by Fair Elections Center has focused on organizations that empower minorities and businesses that serve and employ diverse communities.
“The need for poll workers is perennial and in desperate need of wider attention from the public,” said Stacey Scholl, Senior Associate with Democracy Fund’s Elections program. “We are proud to support the Fair Elections Center’s work to equip local election offices with skilled volunteers and educate communities about this opportunity to serve.”
“Every two years Maricopa County needs over 3,500 citizens to sign up to help our elections run smoothly,” said Adrian Fontes, Maricopa County Recorder. “Finding workers who are bilingual to serve our diverse community is a top priority. This year we are using our award-winning Sitebook check-in stations, which require workers who are comfortable around computers. Our poll workers are the front lines of our Election Department, we could not do our job without them.”
“Our democracy is strengthened when all of us are able to participate, and UnidosUS is working to help more Americans become voters,” said Eric Rodriguez, Vice President of Research, Advocacy and Legislation at UnidosUS. “America is diverse and so is her electorate—that is why ensuring our polling places are welcoming to all Americans, regardless of location or language, is a no-brainer and one important reason why the Work Elections effort by Fair Elections Center is so important.”
“A significant number of registered Silicon Valley voters do not speak English as a first language,” said Chief Executive Officer of India Community Center, Raj Desai, “it is therefore critical that bilingual assistance be provided at the polls.”
Combined with strategic outreach efforts, workelections.com addresses the struggle many local election officials face in enlisting enough volunteers to help voters on Election Day. The site is an easy-to-use, central source of simplified information for potential poll worker volunteers who may not know where or how to apply.
“Years ago, when I served as a poll worker in my predominately Latino community in Los Angeles County, I was surprised at how few Latinos were working the polls even though we were the largest demographic in that precinct,” said Nayeli Pelayo, Outreach Manager for the Work Elections initiative. “It’s time to go beyond registering minorities to vote and guarantee that those serving them at the polls have the necessary language and technology skills to help them on Election Day.”
The Work Elections site contains a search bar for users to look up poll worker information and applications by state, city, county, zip code, or address. Each jurisdiction’s landing page contains volunteer requirements and directs users to a poll worker application.
Fair Elections Center is a national, nonpartisan voting rights and election reform organization which works to remove barriers to registration and voting for traditionally underrepresented constituencies. The Center works to improve election administration through legislative, legal and administrative reform, to protect access to the ballot through litigation, and to provide election law expertise, voter information and technical assistance to voter mobilization organizations.
Initial funding has been provided by Democracy Fund, a bipartisan foundation investing in organizations working to help ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people.