Signing up NV poll workers, ‘unsung heroes’ of democracy

FILE - People check in to cast their votes at a polling station in a mall on Nov. 8, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

By Alex Gonzalez

August 22, 2023

This story was originally published by the Public News Service.

Tomorrow is National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, and one group is inviting Nevadans to play that critical role in the election process.

César Carvajal, Democracy Manager with Silver State Voices, called poll workers the “unsung heroes” who help ensure elections remain free and fair. But he acknowledges some people are cautious. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 30% of local election workers have reported abuse, harassment or threats. While many are calling on lawmakers to protect election workers, Nevada has made significant strides, Carvajal said.

“The Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 406, which helped to ensure that election workers were protected by prohibiting certain acts that could be seen as intimidating,” he explained.

Carvajal added in the past, they have been able to send thousands of poll worker applications to the Clark and Washoe Counties’ Registrar of Voters, and hoped this year will not be different. He added in an effort to be more equitable, there is a need for bilingual election workers who can speak Spanish or Tagalog. In Nye County, Shoshone language assistance must be provided when voting, Carvajal said. For those interested, there is information online at powerthepolls.org.

Carvajal added the eligibility requirements to become a poll worker in Nevada include being over age 16, a resident of the county where you plan to vote, and being a registered voter in Nevada. He says those who are 16 or 17 must be pre-registered to vote. Carvajal pointed out the intense political climate is an issue not only in Nevada, but across the nation.

“When you look at the leaders of our election departments throughout Nevada, you know, most county clerks and registrars that were here prior to 2020 are not in their position anymore,” Carvajal said. “And much of the reason is because of that.”

He added now is the time to step up and help ensure everyone has access to free and fair elections, especially with the next presidential election right around the corner.

CATEGORIES: POLITICS | VOTING

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