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Encouraging library patrons to participate in democracy through being poll workers

This is a guest post provided by Nayeli Pelayo, Outreach Manager for the Fair Elections Center.

On Election Day, it’s too late to change unfair and burdensome voting rules. But we can work together to ensure the rules are clearly explained and accurately applied. Fair Elections Center is encouraging libraries to partner on an initiative to recruit tech-savvy and bilingual patrons to serve as poll workers.

Election rules are more complicated than ever, technology has changed the way we vote, and our nation is more diverse. No one who is eligible to vote should be turned away from the polls. Voters shouldn’t have to leave without voting because of long, slow-moving lines or confusing rules. Well-trained poll workers from different backgrounds can help avoid these issues.

Election officials are desperate for good poll workers, but many communities do not have easy access to poll worker requirements or application forms. Workelections.com addresses this struggle by centralizing information for potential poll workers who may not know where or how to apply. To support the recruitment of poll workers, Fair Elections Center is calling on libraries to share our materials about workelections.com.

This site has the most up-to-date data on poll working and simplifies the process of becoming a poll worker by matching volunteers with opportunities and information. It’s a one-stop-shop that libraries can share with patrons so they can take part in this important service opportunity.

The website’s home page contains a simple search bar so users can look up poll worker information and applications by state, city, county, zip code, or address. Each jurisdiction’s landing page contains volunteer requirements and directs users to an online application, either the jurisdiction’s own online application or, if one doesn’t exist, the website’s generic application which automatically generates an email to the jurisdictions that have no online application but does not retain any personal information.

This is a pilot project for 2018 and our initial focus will be in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, and Virginia.

We hope you can use workelections.com to encourage your library network to volunteer as poll workers in their communities and help elections run more efficiently. Many local jurisdictions are still looking for poll workers to volunteer in the November 6th election. To have your library participate or for more information, please contact Nayeli Pelayo at npelayo@fairelectionscenter.org or at 202-331-0114.

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Lisa Lindle is the Grassroots Communications Specialist for the American Library Association. She coordinates National Library Legislative Day and manages the ALA Washington Office's social media communications capabilities.

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