Study shows most poll workers are over age 60, at risk for COVID

LA County might see a shortage of poll workers if the majority stays home due to COVID-19
LA COUNTY (KABC) -- For the upcoming General Election on November 3rd, LA County will need 16,000 people to work at the polls, according to the LA County Registrar-Recorder.

But studies show that the majority of poll workers in the United States fall in the age group of those who are encouraged to stay home.

"A lot of the poll workers are retired county workers and they're older. And I mean, the whole vibe right now is if you're older, you're you got to stay in," said poll worker Angela Guzman.

A 2018 study from Pew Research Center showed the majority of U.S. poll workers, 58 percent, were over 60 years old.

"Traditionally, a lot of the people who have served as poll workers in our community for years and years are people who would be identified as people with underlying health conditions or in demographics that are considered to be high risk for COVID," said LA County Registrar-Recorder Clerk Dean Logan.

We asked a couple of experienced poll workers, if they'll be returning in November.

"I do plan to work, I actually enjoy it. I've done it so long that's just part of my routine," said poll worker Manuel Cuardros.

"No. I'm not just because as well with a pandemic, when I did the election, it was so chaotic," said Guzman.

Guzman worked the Primary Election in March just before the pandemic hit. She said she was disappointed with how unsanitary it felt.

"People were touching the same iPad. The voting stations, you touched it, and they didn't provide us any cleaning supplies. No sound sanitizer, no disinfectant," Guzman said.

Anyone registered to vote in the state of California will receive a vote-by-mail ballot.

But if you do decide to hit the polls, Logan said they will be adding several safety precautions.

Including physical distancing, enforcing face coverings and wiping down voting equipment in between uses.

And Logan is optimistic that with the usual poll workers staying home, a new generation might step up.

"One of the unique things about the environment we're in right now is we know that there are college students and very likely high school students who won't be in school, physically in school, during that voting period. So, we are absolutely trying to recruit younger people," said Logan.

If you're interested in signing up to be a poll worker, these are the basic qualifications:

-18 or older
-California resident
-U.S. citizen registered to vote or a legal permanent resident

There are also opportunities for high schoolers who are at least 16 years old.

For more information about becoming a poll worker in LA County, visit lavote.net.

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