The North Carolina State Board of Elections previously reported a shortage of county-based poll workers for 2020 early voting and Election Day. Orange County now has a surplus of election workers — and among those to step up were UNC students with a passion for civic engagement.
These students are now preparing to work the polls to create connections with young voters as the November elections draw closer.
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.