Holding a presidential election in the midst of a global pandemic raises a myriad of issues, one of which is a shortage of poll workers. Experienced poll workers across the country, many of whom are over the age of 60 and at higher risk from coronavirus, may opt not to work the polls this year. In the face of a shortage of poll workers, the American Bar Association (ABA) together with the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) have sought to mobilize lawyers, law students, and other legal professionals to safely assist in the November election as poll workers.
The Poll Worker, Esq. Initiative encourages lawyers and law students to sign up to become poll workers. Some states will sweeten the deal by offering continuing legal education credit for poll-worker training. In Ohio, the Supreme Court issued an order permitting attorneys to earn four hours of general CLE credit for training and serving as a precinct election official on November 3. Likewise in Indiana, attorneys can report county poll worker-training courses for CLE credit and the hours spent working at a polling site as pro bono hours.
Poll workers are integral to ensuring free and fair elections, and the skills many lawyers possess—interpreting rules, fielding questions, and resolving issues—just may be ideal for the job. For more information about serving as a poll worker in your community, visit the ABA’s Poll Worker, Esq. Initiative and the NASS’s canivote.org.