It is no secret that the typical poll worker tends to be a senior citizen; indeed, the average age of those volunteering to work the polls is seventy-five. As new technologies are implemented for use in elections, however, there has been a growing push for younger volunteers who are presumably more tech-savvy. In efforts to recruit this younger demographic, California amended its election law statutes to allow high school students to serve as poll workers if certain conditions are met, including a minimum GPA and age requirement. On its face, this law appears like an excellent way to encourage young people to volunteer to serve as poll workers, especially as they are compensated for their time spent both in training and on Election Day. However, one question that remains unanswered is whether high school students, and minors in general, are mature enough to handle the responsibilities that come with the position.
One incident from the November 4, 2014 election suggests that they may not be. In Orange County, a volunteer from the student poll worker program was removed after it was discovered that she tweeted obscenities about certain voters who came into the polling location and even posted pictures of them (which actually violates California law). This was not the result of misinformation or unclear rules, either; the Orange County Voter Registrar stated, “[Volunteers are] trained very carefully that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.” As this occurrence demonstrates, tech-savvy youth may not always make for the best poll workers.