Sep 16, 2020
AARP Collaborates to Address Poll Worker Shortages for 2020 Elections
Power the Polls, Association of Young Americans, and New Leaders Council

WASHINGTONToday AARP announced a new initiative to enlist poll workers of all ages this November, working in collaboration with the Association of Young Americans (AYA), Power the Polls, and New Leaders Council (NLC). The groups aim to enlist more poll workers to ensure that in-person voting is still an accessible and safe option this fall.  

“There is an urgent need for more poll workers this election, including people 50-plus and younger voters. We need to ensure that in-person voting is still an accessible and safe option,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP EVP and Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer. “We will encourage all AARP members to communicate with their younger family and friends around the importance of voting and how to participate as a poll worker.”

For more information on how to serve as a poll worker in your community, visit www.powerthepolls.org/AARP. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data, nearly six-in-ten (58%) poll workers were ages 61 and up in 2018 and 56% in 2016. Many communities faced poll worker shortages prior to the pandemic. The 2016 U.S. Election Assistance Commission found that two-thirds of jurisdictions already had a difficult time recruiting enough poll workers on Election Day.

“The poll worker shortage is an urgent issue, and we’re on the clock,” said Scott Duncombe, Co-Director of Power the Polls. “This unprecedented shortage threatens our democracy, puts our older population at risk, and disproportionately affects low-income communities and communities of color. This is a historic moment for first-time poll workers to sign up to protect their communities, their neighbors, and their democracy. We will keep working until there are enough poll workers and volunteers to keep polling sites open, staffed, efficient, and functioning. We must do everything we can to ensure this upcoming election is safe, fair, and accessible.”

“Poll workers play a critical but often overlooked role in ensuring safe elections. The pandemic has hampered recruiting efforts for poll workers, who tend to be repeat workers, and fewer poll workers means longer lines, delays, and more confusion on Election Day,” said Ben Brown, Founder of Association of Young Americans. “We're excited to work with AARP and Power to the Polls to encourage American of all ages to be poll workers, and protect the election and their communities.”

"Poll workers are the essential workers of our democratic process. All voters should feel safe and welcome when they participate in the upcoming election," said Clare Bresnahan English, President and CEO of New Leaders Council. “This intergenerational collaboration with AARP and Power the Polls allows us to recruit young poll workers whose identities reflect the community in which they serve."

AARP will work to engage with younger audiences to work alongside 50-plus Americans to help ensure the availability of safe voting options. By partnering with Power the Polls, AYA, and NLC, AARP will raise awareness about the need for additional poll workers of all ages to ensure the continued accessibility and safety of in-person voting.

The Power the Polls initiative is also working with local organizations and partners to help election officials provide the necessary PPE to keep poll workers and voters safe. For more information reach out to your local officials through workelections.com.

In August, AARP launched “Protect Voters 50+,” a comprehensive voter engagement campaign to support and protect Americans 50-plus as they vote in the 2020 elections. The campaign will help Americans over 50 votes safely, whether at home or in person. The “Protect Voters 50+” campaign will provide people with the information they need about this year’s elections, including video voters’ guides, issue briefings, direct mail, text messaging, social media and paid media.

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About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

 

 

For further information: AARP Colby Nelson, cnelson@aarp.org, 202-706-8416; AYA Ben Brown, ben.brown@joinaya.com, 773-965-7707; NLC Cat Plein, cplein@newleaderscouncil.org, 213-819-9100