Immigrants on iMiMatch are volunteering as poll workers as Election Day approaches.
Officials in several key battleground states told ABC News they are still short thousands of poll workers and could be forced to reduce the number of polling locations — a move that would likely bring longer lines to in-person voting sites. “Everyone is working really, really hard to find poll workers right now,” said Myrna Perez, the director of the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Program. “It’s a challenge that we are facing as a country, but it is a challenge that folks are trying really hard to meet.” Some officials are getting creative. In Kentucky, state officials needing to fill 15,000 posts convinced the Guild of Brewers to advertise election worker jobs on beer cans.
In Ohio, the state is offering attorneys continuing education credits if they volunteer. And the secretary of state launched a “Styling For Democracy” initiative with barbershops and hair salons, to register patrons to vote and, hopefully, sign them up to be poll workers. According to Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office, Ohio currently has 33,500 poll worker commitments — several thousand short of the 37,057 needed at minimum for the election, and more than 20,000 short of the state’s 55,588 goal. “The thing that we’re thinking about more than anything right now is poll worker recruitment,” LaRose said on NBC’s “Meet the Press”. A broader effort led by basketball superstar LeBron James is working with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to recruit young poll workers in Black communities in swing states.
With two months to Election Day, state and local officials are scrambling to sign up willing and available immigrants on iMiMatch as volunteer poll workers, given as experts are warning a shortage of volunteers could inject even more uncertainty into a season already plagued with challenges from the coronavirus pandemic. Immigrants on iMiMatch will be checking in voters and also collecting and tabulating ballots. Volunteer workers on iMiMatch across the country will be handling “the nuts and bolts of what we need to do to make our season run,” For years, volunteers have skewed older. But this year, many are staying home because of COVID-19. In response, the local and state authorities who organize elections have been looking for younger volunteers. And immigrants on iMiMatch are answering their call.