On National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, Common Cause/NY Encourages Young People to Work the Polls in November

+ State Sen. Julia Salazar, AM Nily Rozic, CM Antonio Reynoso

NEW YORK, NY (09/01/2020) (readMedia)-- September 1st is National Poll Worker Recruitment Day and Common Cause/NY is encouraging young people to work the polls in November. Standing outside the NYC BOE with members of Generation Vote who have already signed up, the group was joined by young elected leaders including State Senator Julia Salazar, Assemblymember Nily Rozic and Councilmember Antonio Reynoso. Poll workers check voters in at poll sites, provide them with ballots and assistance, and nonpartisan information as needed.

WATCH the press conference here and register to become a poll worker here.

"Young people are marching in the streets for a better world, now they have an opportunity to make change from the inside by signing up to work the polls, and getting paid to do it! Poll workers are the backbone of our election operations and we need the next generation to step up, protect the vote, and keep our communities safe. Our current and future elections depend on them," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY.

According to the Pew Research Center, around six-in-ten U.S. poll workers (58%) are over 61 years old, including roughly a quarter (27%) of whom are over 70. Many declined to work the 2020 primaries out of fear of contracting COVID-19, requiring some states to close down poll sites. There are roughly two million New Yorkers between the ages of eighteen to twenty-nine.

Thousands of young people took to the streets earlier this summer, now civic groups and elected leaders are urging young people to partake in democracy and work the polls.

Voters have three ways to vote this fall: absentee, early or on Election Day. Voters can request their absentee ballot now and either return it by mail or drop it off at their early voting or election day poll site or local Board of Elections by Election Day, November 3. Early voting starts October 24th and runs through November 1st.

"The critical role that young people play in our democratic process is more important this year than ever before. Across New York, neighbors have been stepping up to help one another during this public health crisis in order to keep the most vulnerable people in our communities safe and healthy. With so much at stake, fully staffing our poll sites during election season must be a priority. I applaud every young person who is taking a position as a poll worker so that every New Yorker who goes to the polls on Election Day can safely and successfully vote," said Senator Julia Salazar.

"The current COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated New York's chronic shortage of poll workers as the majority of consistent poll workers are seniors at heightened risk of infection," said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D,WF-Queens). "Encouraging young voters to serve as poll workers will go a long way to expand the pool of election inspectors, ensuring a more efficient and secure voting process for all."

"if you've ever had a bad experience voting, working the polls is a great way to see the process up close and make it better. As activists, we need to be in the streets and at the polls, working to be the change we want to see in the world. So roll up your sleeves and get paid too, for the good of us all," said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.

"This upcoming election is one of the most important our democracy will face in its history. Young people have a critically important role in safe guarding its integrity, by not only going out to the polls and making their voices heard, but in helping to run the election itself. I encourage members of my generation to apply now with the Board of Elections to join the front lines in protecting everyone's vote," said District Leader Emilia Decaudin.

"In the 2018 midterms, New York had the second to lowest youth voter turnout, in large part due to statutory barriers to voter participation and voter education. With the 2020 general election around the corner, the stakes have never been higher for community leaders to make it simpler, not harder, for young voters to make our voices heard and get involved in all aspects of our elections. In the face of today's public health crisis and critical shortage of election workers, we are asking GenVoters and all young people, if able, to step up and power the polls as poll workers in order to protect our communities this November," said Brianna Cea, CEO and Co-Founder of GenerationVote.

"I often say that democracy is a full contact sport," said DeNora Getachew, Generation Citizen's New York Executive Director. "Young New Yorkers have marched, protested and taken action to hold their elected officials accountable and show they're civically engaged. With only 63 days until Election Day 2020, we need all youth hands on deck to ensure that New Yorkers can vote early and safely. Signing up to be a poll worker is another way they can stay in the game and go beyond the ballot this election season."