By way of a recent executive order, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is allowing unemployed New Yorkers to become poll workers for the upcoming election without losing their unemployment benefits.
The rule applies to any work that jobless New Yorkers perform for state and local election boards leading up to Nov. 3, as long as workers don’t earn more than $504 per week.
Historically, the majority of people who take on jobs as poll workers are over the age of 60. Because this age group is also highly susceptible to the worst symptoms of COVID-19, many fear that there will be a severe shortage of poll workers during the upcoming election cycle. By signing this executive order, Gov. Cuomo is attempting to help fill the expected shortage.
On Sept. 21, Gov. Cuomo said that he would send National Guard personnel and state employees to step in and staff polling places, if necessary.
“If you need people to help administer, then tell us and we’ll help you get the bodies,” Gov. Cuomo said in a news conference. “It’s a specific period of time. We can use National Guard personnel to help. We can use other state employees to help, right? You have a lot of local government employees right now who, because of COVID, et cetera, the agencies are doing less work.”
New York is currently seeking individuals to work as poll workers during early voting, which runs from Oct. 24th to Nov.1st, and on Election Day, November 3rd.
Depending on which positions need to be filled, poll workers may find themselves doing anything from sanitizing voting equipment and enforcing social distancing guidelines to canvassing and reporting the results.
All registered New York State voters are eligible to apply to work as poll workers. Those who sign up will have to go through training before becoming eligible to work at polling locations.
Those in NYC should be willing to travel, as poll workers could be assigned anywhere within the five boroughs.
Anyone interested or willing to serve as a poll worker during this upcoming election can sign up here.
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