Younger Mainers being asked to work polls on Election Day

One of the challenges of this year’s election is whether there will be enough workers at the polls, but recruitment efforts are underway to get younger Mainers involved.During the 2018 election, more than 60% of all polling workers were more than 60 years old. This year, many of those workers are staying home due to the pandemic.”Older people are more at-risk for COVID-19 so it’s really important that young folks step up and take a really meaningful step and get really engaged in our democracy,” Maine People’s Alliance senior organizer Esther Pew said.The Maine People’s Alliance is working with cities and towns across Maine to make sure polls are staffed appropriately.”This is going to be one of the most important elections of our lifetime and you can see what’s happening first-hand sitting at the polls,” Pew said.City clerks in Portland, South Portland, Westbrook and Saco said they have enough workers to staff the polls of Election Day.The town clerk in Orono said she does not have enough registered Republican voters to work the polls. Maine law requires that every polling location be staffed with an equal number of registered Democrats and Republicans.”If there’s a lack of poll workers, it might mean that polling places have to be consolidated,” Pew said.Consolidated polling locations might mean longer lines to vote even though a record number of Mainers plan to vote absentee.To lure election workers, many towns are offering $12 to $13 per hour. A website has been created to help people who want to sign up to work the polls.

One of the challenges of this year’s election is whether there will be enough workers at the polls, but recruitment efforts are underway to get younger Mainers involved.

During the 2018 election, more than 60% of all polling workers were more than 60 years old. This year, many of those workers are staying home due to the pandemic.

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“Older people are more at-risk for COVID-19 so it’s really important that young folks step up and take a really meaningful step and get really engaged in our democracy,” Maine People’s Alliance senior organizer Esther Pew said.

The Maine People’s Alliance is working with cities and towns across Maine to make sure polls are staffed appropriately.

“This is going to be one of the most important elections of our lifetime and you can see what’s happening first-hand sitting at the polls,” Pew said.

City clerks in Portland, South Portland, Westbrook and Saco said they have enough workers to staff the polls of Election Day.

The town clerk in Orono said she does not have enough registered Republican voters to work the polls. Maine law requires that every polling location be staffed with an equal number of registered Democrats and Republicans.

“If there’s a lack of poll workers, it might mean that polling places have to be consolidated,” Pew said.

Consolidated polling locations might mean longer lines to vote even though a record number of Mainers plan to vote absentee.

To lure election workers, many towns are offering $12 to $13 per hour. A website has been created to help people who want to sign up to work the polls.