(VitalNews.org) – The first US presidential election was held in 1788 when George Washington was unanimously elected by all 69 available electors. The quadrennial presidential elections have changed in scope since then, with 538 electors making up the current electoral college. The 538 electors in turn vote for the presidential candidate who won the most votes in the elector’s state, although Maine and Nebraska differ slightly by using a method of proportional representation.
What has not changed since the inaugural election is the importance of every single vote cast on election day. In the 2020 presidential elections 158.4 million citizens cast a ballot, representing approximately two-thirds of the total pool of voters in the US. In order to safeguard the democratic process and ensure the legitimacy of the presidency, the process of casting each ballot must be kept running smoothly and securely throughout election day, something that can only be achieved with dedicated and engaged poll workers.
Poll workers are made up of local members of the community whose job it is to spend time on election day at their local voting location, helping people to cast their ballots. Poll workers are needed to help people use voting machines, identify any technical issues, and help resolve any administrative issues that may crop up and impede somebody’s ability to legally vote. Some poll workers will be tasked with checking voters’ identification, or even helping to translate for people who primarily speak another language. Each state asks its poll workers to undergo some level of training before they begin work, so even if you have never done the job before, you will be given instructions before you get started.
If you like the sound of becoming a poll worker, you need to check that you meet any of your state’s eligibility requirements before applying. Each state differs in its requirements, with some needing poll workers to be registered voters, or above a certain age. Others may have a residency requirement or ask for party affiliations. If you meet all requirements, you can simply contact your local election office and register to be a poll worker.
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