Poll workers wanted for midterm elections

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ATLANTA, Ga. — Anjali Gokarn loved being a poll worker.

The millennial does not fit the description of a typical election worker. The majority are over 60 years old.

“Being born and raised in Georgia, I want to be more part of the process and have an impact there,” she said.

Currently, there is a shortage of poll workers. Power to the Polls, a nonpartisan nonprofit that works to recruit poll workers, says a tight labor market coupled with burnout from the way workers were treated after the election in 2020 has increased the need for workers. He says some polling stations this year even had to close due to a lack of workers.

“There are also people who say, ‘I don’t believe in the system and I don’t know if I believe my vote even matters. Even people my age,” Gokarn said. “I don’t feel like they feel as confident about the voting process.”

“A lot of individuals have been attacked for doing their civic duty to conduct polls and make sure people could vote,” said Chris Bruce, political director for the ACLU of Georgia.

He and his team worked to help districts fill gaps in recruiting workers for the state.

“There will be others who will say, ‘I did my job. I did my duty. I don’t care anymore.’ I fully understand, but there is also a new wave and a new generation of individuals, especially young people who want to get involved,” he said.

Bruce says his organization did a lot to recruit new election workers for a recent primary election in the state and that helped, but he says more needs to be done in order to be fully staffed for midterms in November. . He hopes the current conversations in politics will convince more people to get involved.

“There’s a lot of division happening in our country. Voting shouldn’t be one of them,” he said.

Gokarn, who is an accountant by trade, said she enjoys working at the polls because she believes in it, and despite the controversies she hopes others will see her involvement as motivation to participate.

“People need to understand, like, if you don’t like the process, the way to improve it is to actually get involved. And see it for yourself,” she said.

At both ends of the political spectrum, there is a great deal of distrust in the electoral system. Some believe in widespread voter fraud, others believe that laws have been established to take away their vote. A message those like Gokarn have for those who have lost faith – be part of the system so you can see for yourself.

“We are very lucky to live in the country that we live in. We are very lucky to have these processes. We see turmoil happening in the world, even right now in 2022. I know we have our own turmoil here, but without actually getting involved in something, nothing can really change,” she said.

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