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Groups launch effort to mobilize poll workers amid coronavirus pandemic

June 30, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

A group of civic-minded organizations have joined together to recruit thousands of volunteers to work the polls this November, as states grapple with how the coronavirus pandemic could affect voting in the fall.

(CNN)A group of civic-minded organizations have joined together to recruit thousands of volunteers to work the polls this November, as states grapple with how the coronavirus pandemic could affect voting in the fall.

The nonprofit organizations and businesses behind the new effort, "Power the Polls," are Civic Alliance, Comedy Central, Fair Elections Center, Levi Strauss & Co. , Patagonia, Time To Vote, Pizza to the Polls, MTV, Uber and We Can Vote.

"We're calling upon people that care about democracy to recognize that an essential part of that is to make sure that our elections work and work well and that they're efficient and safe and we don't have long lines and problems at the polls due to a lack of human resources," Bob Brandon, president of Fair Elections Center, told CNN.

The recruitment efforts will include the launching of a database that will provide information about becoming a poll worker, with up-to-date information for more than 4,000 jurisdictions, according to the groups.

"We are going out to our members with an election day of service campaign, a service type opportunity, getting corporate members interested in getting employees to power the polls," Mike Ward, vice president of voter engagement at Democracy Works, told CNN.

Election officials across the country may be facing poll worker crunches.

The Pew Research Center reports 58% of poll workers were ages 61 and older in the 2018 midterms, a number similar to the 56% during the 2016 elections.

Still, Brandon noted that the initiative is aimed at recruiting and educating poll workers of all ages.

"The initiative, while it's focused in a lot of ways to reach young people, we want everybody to consider being a poll worker," Brandon said.

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