【AZ】 How to become a poll worker — and other ways to encourage voting | National Politics – Arizona News

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Voting in America is as old as the country itself. From the first election in 1788, in which George Washington was unanimously elected president, to President Joe Biden’s victory over former President Donald Trump in 2020, voting for our leaders is one of the few parts of the political process that hasn’t changed much—though in 2020 both the process and the results became highly polarized.

Voting is so important because it is one of the few ways regular people can make their voices heard and the only way a government is able to represent the best interests and needs of the people. That being said, who has the right to vote has changed quite a bit throughout our history: In early elections, only white male landowners over the age of 25 were allowed to cast ballots. Today—with the exception of people with felony convictions in some states—U.S. citizens of all genders, races, and income levels can vote. 

In 2020, 158.4 million citizens—almost two-thirds of estimated eligible voters—voted in the presidential elections, according to the Pew Research Center. The number represented a higher than average turnout, with people voting in numbers not seen since 1980 and possibly well before then. 

Still, many eligible voters didn’t vote in 2020. There are numerous reasons people don’t engage in the voting process. Voting can be inconvenient to fit in around work and childcare schedules—a problem cited even before the COVID-19 pandemic complicated matters. ID requirements, limits on mail-in and absentee voting, and polling place and drop-box reductions all make voting difficult. Coming out of the 2020 election, more than a dozen Republican-held states have imposed voting restrictions that critics say make it harder for poor people and people of color to vote—demographics that reliably support democrats. 

In addition to getting people out to vote, our democracy depends on poll workers—members of local communities that help run polling locations, show voters how to use voting machines, and work to solve administrative snafus. There is currently a shortage of poll workers—a concern with midterm elections so close—prompting recruitment campaigns across the country.

Stacker compiled information from websites for government, civic organizations, voting rights, and voting information on how you can become a poll worker and various other resources to encourage and empower voting. We’re releasing this story as part of Democracy Day—a nationwide initiative aimed at highlighting the importance of our democracy and of protecting it.

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