State maintains recruitment of younger poll workers in the midst of pandemic

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — COVID-19 continues to change the way some polling places look in Tennessee. The workers are getting a little younger after a recruitment effort by the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office.

Some states could not find enough poll workers for their summer primaries, but Tennessee was not one of them.

“We did not have to close a single polling location in August,” Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins said. “Tennesseans stepped up.”

He wants to keep it that way in the November election that promises at least two-and-a-half times more voters than in the statewide August primary.

“One of the things that we did do and we want to continue to do is to recruit enough poll officials,” Goins added.

With active recruitment from the state to get new poll workers in this age of COVID-19, there comes an emphasis on younger individuals for the jobs of checking registration and helping individuals who have in-person voting questions

“We asked the legislature in March, once COVID started hitting, to open the poll for poll officials ’cause it became apparent this was going to be a huge issue nationwide. They lowered the age from 17 to 16,” Goins said.

Goins estimates that across Tennessee, there were 500 poll workers between the ages of 16 and 21. He said some of the youngest poll workers had never even been inside a polling place before they started their duties since they are not yet old enough to vote.

Most Tennesseans are eligible to work as a poll official. For more information and to apply to become a poll official, visit GoVoteTN.com.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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(This reflects what the TDH is reporting each day at 2 p.m. CST )

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