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Poll Workers are Essential Workers


Elections don’t just happen; it takes a lot of coordination and people power to organize an election. Perhaps the most important people are those on the front lines that help voters cast their ballots on election day: the poll workers. Poll workers set up polling locations, check voters in, provide voters with their ballot, help with any accommodations that a voter with accessibility issues needs and they make sure that all the ballots are counted. Poll workers are the face of an election for many people.


The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to take extra precautions when we leave home. For the time being, we all need to wear masks when we’re out in public and maintain social distancing guidelines in order to protect ourselves and each other. And just as we continue to go to the grocery store and other places that offer essential services, we must continue to vote. 


In the upcoming elections, poll workers, like other frontline workers, will be taking steps to keep voters safe if they choose to vote in person. Just like when you visit the grocery store, when you visit your polling location, you’ll be expected to wear a mask. Just like standing in the checkout line, you’ll be required to stand 6-feet away from other voters when you’re waiting in line to vote.


You have options when it comes to voting this August and November. In person polling locations will be open for in-person voting, but you can also vote from home by absentee ballot. All registered Michigan voters were sent an absentee ballot application for the August election to the address where they are registered to vote. If you haven’t yet received an absentee ballot application, don’t worry. You can apply for an absentee ballot online at mi.gov/vote or you can call your local clerk’s office to request an application.


These are unprecedented times that we’re living in. Now more than ever it’s important to lift up the power of voting. Your vote helps determine who will lead us through the strange times we’re living in. Your vote helps determine who will make decisions on critically important issues like immigration and civil rights. Your vote is your voice, and this year is no time to sit on the sidelines when it comes to voting.


Remember you have choices when it comes to voting. You can vote at home or in person. If you do decide to vote in person, give your poll workers a break. We’re all figuring out how to adjust given the restrictions posed by COVID-19, and there may be some hiccups along the way, but patience and compassion go a long way.


If you’d like to protect and defend the right to vote this year, sign up to be a poll worker. Poll workers are trained and paid for their work, and many communities are in desperate need of additional poll workers. For more information, and to sign up to be a poll worker visit michiganvoting.org/be-a-poll-worker


Sharon Dolente, Voting Rights Strategist, ACLU of Michigan



Copyright © 1989 to 2020 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 07/07/20 23:33:25 -0700.




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