Poll Workers: The New Generation

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Sienna Shille, Editor

Did you know that you can be a poll worker at age 16 in Colorado? In all my years in the U.S. (14 total), I had never seen anyone under the age of 60 working the polls. But just like everything else in 2020, that was about to change.

In a time when senior citizens’ risk their lives by breathing in public, younger generations have stepped up in every way imaginable. Including working the polls. Thousands of people across the state signed up. As a matter of fact, a large portion of them had to be turned away due to the overwhelming number of volunteers. People were eager to do their part to save democracy (not to mention their grandparents).

These volunteers knew the risk of leaving the safety of the bedroom, but they did it nonetheless. Yet what is their sacrifice met with? The suspicion of the media, and the enormous pressure to get the results, and fast. Well we’re here today to counteract this negative showing of the American poll worker, and get to know one such brave volunteer.

Elliot Guinness, a 16 year old who attends Northfield high school, made the cut to be a poll worker in the 2020 election. In the interview below, we talked about everything from his experience to his future, his advice to his hopes. Elliot’s charming personality and ability to connect with people make him not only a great poll worker, but an amazing interviewee.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Guinness talks about applying for the position, and explains all the work that poll workers did to prepare prior to election time. This consisted mainly of a simulation where volunteers could practice each role, and get experience in the field.
  • We discuss his experience during his 1 week and 2 days on the job. Elliot’s time in the voting center was spread between greeting voters, giving them directions, and janitorial duties (the last one being the least fun of the three).
  • Elliot describes the struggle of juggling school and the polls, and explains his tight schedule.
  • Regarding the criticism of the voting process and suspicion of fraud spreading through the U.S, Guinness stresses the amount of careful evaluation each ballot goes through. Guinness adds that his experience as a poll worker gave him confidence in the ballot count.
  • Elliot gives advice to future poll workers, and says he would definitely volunteer again in the next presidential election. And to everyone out there over the age of 18, we implore you, please vote! If not this year, then the next, and the next, and the next.

Watch the interview above to learn more about Elliot Guinness’s incredible experience! Enjoy!