LeBron James Leads Team Of NBA Stars To Recruit Younger Poll Workers Before Election
A voting rights organization founded by a team of NBA stars led by Los Angeles Laker Lebron James seeks young volunteers to serve as poll workers in traditionally black voting precincts, including San Antonio’s East Side.
According to the More Than A Vote website, most of the poll workers that sign up for Election Day shifts are over the age of 60.
But in Bexar County, Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen explained, that age threshold is much older: 72.
More Than A Vote reported older Americans were the most at-risk during this pandemic, and fewer were signing up for the job.
The group warned that, in general, fewer available workers could lead thousands of polling places to close, making it harder for people -- especially people of color -- to vote in the 2020 election.
But Callanen said there was not a shortage of paid volunteers to work at East Side polls. She said most of them were older.
Callanen said she would also welcome younger people to train as poll workers. “They need to make the commitment to training and getting up at O-dark-thirty,” she said.
More Than A Vote said African Americans have been some of the voters most affected by long waits to vote. Now, COVID threatened to make it worse.
“We have already seen the galvanizing force of youth and Black voices across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Voices of those standing in the streets in protest chanting 'Black Lives Matter' and imploring those in power to take notice,” the group explained in an open letter to "our fans of every age, race and gender."
“You marched. You demanded change. Now, we’ve got to take advantage of the moment. We’ve got to protect our power,” the statement added.
More Than a Vote is just one of several groups with similar messages and objectives. For example, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Power The Polls have also asked for volunteers to fight voter suppression by serving as a poll workers. The groups said they planned to ensure everyone in the community can safely vote this fall.
“Reaching 500,000 poll worker recruits so quickly shows how people across the country are stepping up to protect our democracy and our vulnerable communities,” said Scott Duncombe, co-director of Power the Polls.
“We’re so proud of the diverse coalition of support that this effort has inspired to help ensure the upcoming election is safe, fair, and accessible for all, he said. "Now, with early voting upon us and November around the corner, this work could not be more urgent. Power the Polls won’t stop until all polling sites are open, staffed, efficient, and functioning.”