North Texas Daily

Voter suppression through election workers

Voter suppression through election workers

Voter suppression through election workers
September 19
10:00 2020

There are many misconceptions and confusion about election poll workers and how they function exactly.

The main misconception of poll workers is that they are simply volunteers and do not get paid, but this is not the case. In Denton County, the wages for working the polling sites range between $10.00-$12.00 per hour, more than most jobs pay in the Denton area for beginner level jobs. Most of the time when you go to register to vote it is older people working and not usually a job broadcasted as suitable for young adults, however, they are often in desperate need of more election workers. Most counties have multiple polling places and each place needs to have a certain number of people there at all times to keep the place smoothly running, especially on election day.

Working during early voting as an election poll worker is a great opportunity for college students to work part-time at a high pay rate and also help their community. However, the process to get the job has proved more than difficult for many people, as it is not often shown as an available job in the area and only older people find out about this work. That is often due to the people choosing the workers and who they would like to see working at the polls. This can be shown through the application that asks you for your political affiliation when that should not matter as long as they are wanting to work. Republicans have a clear advantage in Texas over politics and can lead to people who fall into other political groups discouraged, even when finding a job to simply aid people voting. While the basic duties of a poll worker, greeting and assisting each voter as they come into the polling place, has nothing to do with political affiliation, getting to that position often does.

Denton is a red county, meaning most of the elected officials and voters are Republicans and have an advantage over most things regarding anything political due to their majority. This can even become a problem when working election polls, as many people can be passed up on work simply for belonging to a different party.

After personally working as an election worker in the spring, I got to understand a lot of the gritty details and ins and outs of the election political system, in Denton specifically. The lead clerk, the person who is in charge of the polling place, who I worked with last spring, is not being brought back on as a lead because she is not a Republican. Often only if you are the lead clerk, you can bring people on to work with you, and this year lead clerks will most likely only be Republicans. Texas is a red state, they can control elections when they want to in the ways they do, and this one it seems like they wanted to.

This is one of the biggest elections of our lifetime and simply even working the election polls has seemed more difficult this time than others. Many hoops are to be jumped through if you want to work as an election poll worker this year and many people are choosing to not even identify on their applications their political party anymore in fear of not getting hired. However, all of this information and experiences are gathered by word of mouth as they cannot publicly broadcast this is being done. If you are passionate about electoral politics and would like everyone to be able to vote with ease and understanding, apply to be an election poll worker today for October Early Voting.

Featured Illustration by Durga Bhavana

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Keaton Hare

Keaton Hare

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