State officials are urging younger Coloradans to get involved in the election process, as a new generation of temporary, paid poll workers is likely needed to replace older people who may not be able to participate due to their vulnerability to COVID-19.
COVID-19 is expected to pose a particular challenge to the operation of Colorado’s polling centers, as those who generally serve as election judges are also among the most at risk of suffering complications from the virus.
A Pew Research Center study of the 2018 midterm elections found that 58% of poll workers were age 61 or older. Of those, 27% were over 70. Because people in this age group are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold is urging younger Coloradans to step up and take their place.
“As the nation’s youngest Secretary of State, I want to encourage a new generation of people to get involved with our elections this year by serving as Election Judges,” said Griswold. “Being an Election Judge is a great way to get involved in our democracy while getting a front-row seat to see how Colorado’s election process works. It is also important work because judges keep our Voter Service and Polling Centers operating.
The Secretary of State’s office has developed a webpage where Coloradans can sign up to express interest in becoming an election judge. The election judge is a temporary, paid role starting from June 1through July 22.
Election judges are responsible for greeting voters, assisting in voter registration, and serving on bipartisan teams that pick up and process ballots.
This year, election judges will be provided with personal protective equipment, along with increased pay and paid sick leave.
“We need the next generation of Coloradans, who are at a lower risk of getting sick, to step up and serve as Election Judges to protect our democracy during this crisis,” said Adams County Clerk Josh Zygielbaum. “I encourage any Coloradan who is able to work as an election judge to not only earn extra income but to also serve your community.”