NEBRASKA – With the May 12 Primary election still happening, and the fact that poll workers are usually in that at risk age group, Secretary of State Robert Evnen and local election officials are calling on young people to step up and work the polling sites this year. Ramona Thomas, the Adams County Clerk, says its vital younger people work those sites.
Traditionally, the younger generation is not available. They’re still in school. College age kids might still be away at college and they’re having finals and there’s graduation and there’s all sorts of stuff going on for them at this time of year. Well, that’s all been halted. So they are available. So far, we’ve had a pretty good response. We had about four college kids step forward and say they want to do it, and I’m hoping that kind of snowballs.
Lisa Poff, the Buffalo County Election Commissioner, says that they are in need of younger workers as well.
Just to put it into perspective a little bit. We normally staff our 29 polling places with anywhere from 5 to 6 workers at each precinct. That’s about 170 workers. Currently, we have about 130 that are assigned. 80 of those are between the ages of 65 and 90. 80 of that 130.
Tracy Overstreet, the Hall County Election Commissioner, is also saying they need younger workers for the polling sites.
We had 127 people recruited and staffed and assigned to work the election for May 12. And of that 127 people, 90 of them are in that high risk age category. Mostly in their 70s and 80s, a few in their 60s. And over half of those have decided to not work the election.
They are expecting that many of those older volunteers will cancel before the primary. Any registered voter that is 18 years or older can work a site. 16 and 17 year olds can also work the sites but on a limited basis. Poll workers are paid at least minimum wage but it varies by county. To sign up to work the polling sites, you can call your local county office. All polling site workers will be equipped with gloves and a N95 mask. Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will be available. They will also keep people separated by at least 6 feet apart to adhere to social distancing.