We’re pleased to see this amendment added to H.R. 1. Hiring students and other youth as poll workers is a win-win -- election officials gain a pool of tech-savvy community members, many of whom are bilingual, while students have the opportunity to deepen their civic engagement connections and service. Youth poll workers stepped up in the 2020 election to serve their communities, as many older poll workers were unable to serve due to pandemic-related health risks. Qualified poll workers are critical to well-run elections in which every voter has a voice, and the new cohort of poll workers that emerged in 2020 demonstrated the impact that engaged young people can have on the functioning of our democracy.
We should build on these successes by encouraging jurisdictions across the country to establish and expand student poll worker programs. Expanding the pool of student poll workers will help ensure that the people administering our elections more accurately reflect the diverse communities of voters they help, which could improve voter service and participation. Youth poll workers are themselves empowered through the experience, which encourages them to become more civically engaged in their communities for years to come.
- Ryan Pierannunzi
WorkElections Project Manager