San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) September 27, 2006
In light of a national pollworker shortage of 500,000 and persistent controversies around polling, citizen action groups have joined forces in a new national “Pollworkers for Democracy” campaign. The nonpartisan effort by Mainstreet Moms (theMMOB.org), Working Assets and VoteTrustUSA launches nationwide today with a call to American voters to “give a day for democracy” by signing up to work the polls. Already 1435 new pollworkers have signed up in early tests.
“It's time to give a day for democracy and sign up to work the polls.” said Megan Matson, of Mainstreet Moms, "The only way our democracy can truly work is by turning concern into action and becoming part of the solution. Helping voters and assisting elections officials is a simple, supportive and paid way to do this."
At present pollworkers are hired, trained and paid by their local election officials to work in their county on Election Day – the average age of a pollworker is 72. Pollworkers for Democracy is recruiting pollworkers to help with the kind of problems seen in recent primaries: thousands of frustrated would-be voters, long delays, and confusion generated by failing voting machine systems. These problems, combined with a recent flurry of lawsuits and a growing stack of government and institutional reports against electronic voting machines have lead to low public confidence in the American electoral system. Pollworkers for Democracy aims to encourage citizens to get informed and get active in response. Visitors to pollworkersfordemocracy.org can pledge to work the polls, look up local officials information, and learn how to apply for pollworker positions. They are further supported with online materials and weekly teleconference calls offering pollworking resources and advice.
"For the first time in a national election, new, computerized equipment will be used in most polling places across the country, this year." said Joan Kravitz, Executive Director of VoteTrust USA, "Our goal is to bring citizens into the process to work the polls and to help both new and experienced pollworkers ensure that the November election runs as smoothly as possible for the voters at their polling places."
The Pollworkers for Democracy campaign plans to collect pollworker observations through an online survey. Participants are encouraged to keep an eye out for problems at the polls such as the mishandling of voter registration requirements, delays and errors due to failing electronic voting systems, voter intimidation, and issues surrounding the use and counting of provisional ballots. The campaign will also be looking for reports of well-run precincts and best practices among elections officials. The pollworker survey is linked to a national Election Incident Reporting System supporting informed election reform solutions.