Election officials are concerned with the aging of the poll workers they rely on to run elections and are looking for ways to recruit younger workers. Washington County’s Election Commission discussed the issue at last week’s meeting. Jennifer Price, election director, sent the commissioners information she included in a report to the state about last November’s election. Washington County had three poll workers from ages 18 to 24, according to Price. In the group from 25 to 40, the county had 17 workers. The county had 63 poll workers from 41 to 60 and 129 from 61 to 70. The largest number in any age group was 166 who were 71 or older. The commission was aware of the age of most poll workers generally, from observation over time, but hadn’t seen the numbers until Price sent the report to them. “When you see it in print, it really jumps out at you,” Price said.
Renee Oelschlaeger, commission chairman, said younger people tend to be more mobile and haven’t developed the habit of community service found among older generations. The pressures of working are generally less for older people, she said.
“Older people generally have more free time and are more committed to voting and making the election process work,” Oelschlaeger said.
The drawback of relying on older workers, both Price and Oelschlaeger said, is the loss of workers through death and illness.