Decision 2020

Young People Signing Up To Be Poll Workers

Stonington High School students have been hired to keep polls safe and clean this Election Day.

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More than 300 thousand people in Connecticut have already returned their absentee ballots for the general election. While Connecticut residents are able to drop their ballots in a box or mail them this year, there will still be the option to vote in person.

Polling locations will look different. People will notice more space for social distancing, masks, and more young people working the polls.

In Stonington, high school students will be hired as poll workers this Election Day. They are helping to fill a need. The town's poll workers are usually older adults who are at a higher risk for contracting a serious case of COVID-19.

“We had a problem getting poll workers who were on the younger side and would be able to come in and take their place," said Peggy Cawley, one of the town's registrars.

The registrars reached out to the local high school to see if any students would be willing to help for the primary and general elections. Twenty students were hired for the primary election and 20 will be hired for the general election.

"As a teenager who cannot vote, I thought it was a really great opportunity to still be able to take part in the process," said Ellie Korinek, a senior at Stonington High School.

Korinek is one of the students who will be working Election Day. Ruth Greene, who is also a senior, will be working as well. They are both 17.

“It is important to be a part of your community and inform yourself before you are even able to vote," said Greene.

The students in Stonington will play a critical role: sanitizing voting equipment between uses.

“It is so important that we have accessible, safe and sanitized polling stations," said Korinek.

According to the Secretary of the State's office, high school and college students have stepped up statewide. They expect to see more young people working the polls than ever before.

You must follow a certain set of steps to ensure that your absentee ballot will be counted.

“I just think it is so important for them to see how the process works and see how people are expressing their voice," said Janice Lamb, Career Center Coordinator for Stonington High School.

According to the registrars in Stonington, 90 percent of their poll workers are brand new and it is not just students who are filling the gaps. They say a lot of registered voters in town have signed up and some people are taking a vacation day from work to be able to help.

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