Warner offers idea to address poll worker shortage: Lawyers
U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) is urging the administrative bodies of each state’s Continuing Legal Education system to allow lawyers to volunteer as poll workers on Nov. 3 in exchange for CLE credits.
CLE credits are required professional education for attorneys, who must earn these credits after their initial admission to the bar.
“Across the country, election officials have raised the possibility that many experienced poll workers – who are primarily older than age 60 and at a higher risk from coronavirus – will opt to remain at home this year. We saw early signs of this during primary elections held nationwide earlier this spring and summer, with reduced polling locations in many states as a result of the public health emergency,” Warner said. “A reduction of polling places undermines not only our democracy, but also our public health response, as larger numbers of Americans are forced to rely on a limited number of open polling locations.”
According to the CDC, one of the best ways to mitigate COVID-19-related health risks during the election will be to support a wide variety of alternative voting methods and options – such as expanded early voting and longer voting hours – that reduce the number of voters at a single polling location.
However, many of these options require the presence of poll workers, who are traditionally older and therefore more likely to stay home given the risks associated with COVID-19.
Warner has cosponsored legislation to address the urgent shortage of poll workers and make it easier for election boards across the country to send recruits to where they are most needed by removing requirements that poll workers be registered to vote in the same county where they are volunteering.