How Will the SouthCoast’s Older Poll Workers Be Kept Safe on Election Day?
With election day finally arriving tomorrow, the subject of the poll workers came up this morning. I was joking that it seems like the median age of the poll workers where I vote is roughly around 135 years old.
All kidding aside, though, I have a genuine concern for them. The elderly are exactly the people that we need to be protecting from COVID-19 right now. So is it safe on election day for them to be exposed to hundreds or even thousands of people in one day?
The problem is that they are the people that actually have the time to work at the polls. Most younger people simply don't have the time to work a sporadic day like that.
I can totally see myself signing up to be a poll worker after I retire. During normal times, it seems like the perfect chance to get out of the house, serve your community and socialize with your fellow residents.
Unfortunately, getting out of the house and socializing are things that older people should be keeping to a minimum right now.
I spoke with the Chairman of the Board of Elections for New Bedford, Manny DeBrito. He told me that they definitely tried to get more young people involved, but that the older people still make up a majority of the poll workers.
"They've been doing it for years and years, and love it," DeBrito said. He said he left the choice up to them.
DeBrito said that polling locations are taking extra COVID precautions by distributing PPE to the staff, and masks to any voters that need one. Each voter will receive their own pen, and the voting areas are continuously wiped down.
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell agreed, telling WBSM, "It's OK. It's OK. Please go out and vote."