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Power the Polls Returns to Recruit New Wave of Poll Workers Ahead of Primary, Midterm Elections


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The first-of-its-kind initiative signed up more than 700,000 potential poll workers in 2020 and helped ensure a safe and fair election.

May 20, 2022 — Today, Power the Polls — a first-of-its-kind, nonpartisan initiative that recruited more than 700,000 potential poll workers ahead of the 2020 election – officially re-launched its program for 2022. The initiative will build on its work from 2020 to recruit a new wave of younger, more diverse poll workers ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. The announcement comes as multiple states grapple with poll worker shortages while holding primary elections, and as voters in early primary states favor voting in-person rather than via mail.

“In 2020, we were blown away by the number of people who raised their hands to support our democracy and be a poll worker for the first time, especially amid a pandemic,” said Jane Slusser, Program Manager for Power the Polls. “This year, poll worker shortages in a number of states have caused polling places to close, making it more challenging for voters to access the ballot box. We’re looking forward to building on our success from 2020 and ensuring voters from every community can cast their vote in 2022.”

Power the Polls launched in 2020 to respond to a nationwide poll worker shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as typically older poll workers stayed home due to health concerns. The initiative worked with hundreds of organizations, businesses, and election officials from across the political spectrum to recruit younger, more diverse, and non-partisan potential poll workers, and ensure that local elections officials' needs for poll workers were identified and met. The initiative was co-founded by Civic Alliance, Civic Responsibility Project, Comedy Central, Fair Elections Center, Pizza to the Polls, MTV Entertainment Group, and the Center for Secure and Modern Elections. Ultimately, more than 700,000 potential poll workers were recruited across all 50 states and the District of Columbia – as a result, polling places that had closed in the primaries stayed open in the fall.

“The Civic Alliance is proud to once again be part of this crucial collaborative effort to support participation in our democracy,” said Natalie Tran, Co-Founder of the Civic Alliance and Executive Director of the CAA Foundation. “Nearly 200 of our member companies stepped up in 2020 to encourage employees to serve as poll workers and bolster widespread national ballot access. As trusted brands and employers, companies have a tremendous power to shape our culture. We look forward to working with Power the Polls and our corporate partners to use that power for good again in 2022.”

“We still need more poll workers to help ensure elections across the U.S. run smoothly in 2022,” said Fair Elections Center President Robert Brandon. “At the Fair Elections Center, we’ve worked for years on building a better system for recruiting a new generation of diverse poll workers. In 2020, we realized that goal through this partnership and helped sign up hundreds of thousands of first-time poll workers. But this work is far from over – we look forward to redoubling our efforts and working to ensure all voters have their voices heard in 2022.”

In the lead up to the 2022 midterm elections, Power the Polls will continue its work engaging younger, more diverse potential poll workers as local election administrators grapple with poll worker shortages caused by new election laws and health and safety concerns. In recent primaries, such as in Texas, poll worker shortages led to the closure of polling places – 10 locations in Dallas alone were completely closed due to shortages. Additionally, polling places are likely to be busier in 2022 than 2020 – reporting from states holding early primary elections shows a decline in vote-by-mail and rise in in-person voting relative to the last election.

“Poll workers are vital to maintaining the health of our democracy,” said Erika Soto Lamb, Vice President of Social Impact Strategy, Comedy Central and MTV. “In 2020, we were honored to help Power the Polls deliver on its mission to recruit the next generation of younger, more diverse poll workers – Trevor Noah’s efforts to share the message on The Daily Show helped sign up 100,000 volunteers ahead of an unprecedented election. This year, we must continue this work to address voter access issues, particularly for low-income voters, voters from marginalized communities of color, voters with disabilities, and voters in need of language assistance.”

“In 2020, Power the Polls demonstrated the scale of impact that is possible through deep, meaningful collaboration among nonprofits, corporations, and government officials,” said Ashley Spillane, founder of Civic Responsibility Project. “This program, which originally started as six different initiatives, recruited 10 times more potential poll workers than they could have individually – and blew past the original goal of 250,000 Power the Polls sign-ups. This year, we’re thrilled to be back to strengthen our democracy and ensure a safe and fair election for all.”

To ensure polling places are sufficiently staffed, Power the Polls will rely on objective data collected from over 5,000 jurisdictions by the non-partisan Fair Elections Center and coordinate with Secretaries of State, State Election Directors and local elections officials to ensure poll worker gaps are identified and addressed.

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About Power the Polls Power the Polls is a first-of-its-kind, nonpartisan initiative for recruiting poll workers and volunteers to ensure a safe and fair election for all. Power the Polls was launched in June 2020 by a coalition of businesses and nonprofits, including Civic Alliance, Civic Responsibility Project, Comedy Central, Fair Elections Center, Pizza to the Polls, MTV Entertainment Group, and Center for Secure & Modern Elections. Power the Polls relies on objective data about poll worker requirements and applications collected from over 5,000 jurisdictions assembled by the non-partisan Fair Elections Center.


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