Poll Hero recruits teen poll workers

Becca Koch '22, Web Editor

American government runs as it does with the help of elections, part of which includes having trained poll workers at polling locations. There are several groups that are dedicated to recruiting people to spend election day helping people vote, such as Poll Hero.
Miranda Freedman ’21 said she first learned of Poll Hero after getting a DM from a volunteer on Instagram.
“The Poll Hero project is a volunteer organization that gets teens involved in working the polls on election day,” Freedman said. “During this time, a lot of the people who usually work the polls are older and are a lot more susceptible to coronavirus, so their mission is to recruit people who are younger and less high risk to not only help out those who are at higher risk, but also to we have a chance to learn a lot a little bit more about democracy before we start voting.”
Metro Detroit pro bono lawyer Wedny Richards said her firm was looking for ways for attorneys to help increase voting rights and participation when they found that volunteering to work at the polls is a massive help.
“In our research, we discovered that one of the biggest barriers to people being able to vote is actually having a sufficient number of qualified poll workers at precincts,” Richards said. “There are studies from the government that show even before COVID, this is a serious issue around the country. In particular, it’s an issue in lower income areas, but it really is an issue almost everywhere.”
Many of the past poll workers are older according to Jocelyn Mills ’22 and are more susceptible to COVID-19. Mills said she will be volunteering with Poll Hero on election day.
“I’m just looking forward to hopefully being able to keep more people safe who would normally be there helping out like older people so I hopefully that can lower the risk for them,” Mills said.
Freedman said that aside from experiencing democracy in America, high school poll workers also get several additional benefits.
“It’s for anybody who is interested in learning how democracy works, learning how the voting process works and cares about the election process and wants to help out,” Freedman said. “I think everybody should do it because it’s a really rewarding experience. You get paid for working the election day, and it looks good on a college application.”
Richards believes that having younger people working at the polls helps to bring in more younger voters.
“Voting is something for younger people,” Richards said. “It’s not just for older people. If you’re 18 years old, and you’re registered to vote and you’re able to vote, you have just as much right to be there, as some people call them. So having other people at the polling stations also reinforces that message that we want to make sure that elections are for everyone who has the right to vote can be invaluable”
Freedman said she is excited to learn about the democratic process firsthand as she watches people make change.
“I don’t know how to vote,” Freedman said. “They don’t teach us how to do that in school. So being able to know how to do that and how that process works before I turn 18 is just going to be really important especially because once I turn 18, I won’t be nervous or scared to vote since I already know everything that’s going to happen and I think that’s pretty cool.”