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UNC students step up to work the polls for early voting and Election Day

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

The Daily Tar Heel, Emma Nipp:

UNC senior Colin Lowe, a political science major, works as a poll worker recruiter with Campus Vote Project and Power the Polls in an effort to reduce poll worker shortages across the country and prevent long voting wait times.

“In a typical year, a majority of poll workers are over age 60, but they are not signing up this year due to health concerns,” Lowe said. “Unless younger Americans step up, the resulting shortage of poll workers could mean closing polling places and long delays in communities across the country.”

Lowe said, in addition to social distancing, poll workers in North Carolina are provided with masks, gloves and face shields for their shifts. Single use pens are provided for counties, such as Orange County, that use hand-marked paper ballots. Precincts that use electronic ballot machines plan to use a cotton swab or disposable stylus in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Sophomore Violet Kehoe, a psychology major, said she signed up to be a poll worker because she is not at as high a risk for COVID-19 as many people who typically work the polls.

“I believe student poll working is important because it creates a sense of connection between young people and voting,” she said. “In my experience, when peers see each other getting involved with the voting process and government, they follow one another.”

Lowe said he wants to get other students involved in poll working to prevent issues in voting that may disproportionately affect working-class people and communities of color. He said reduced and understaffed polling locations during primary voting can create long lines for voters, leaving them to wait several hours.

Read the full article here.


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