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Finding Critical Election Workers During A Pandemic

How could 1,000+ new poll workers be recruited, particularly in high-turnout counties, in order to avoid precinct closures and massive lines on Election Day?

Power The Polls PA



The COVID-19 pandemic presented a number of generational challenges in the United States. From mobilizing local, state, and federal public health resources to fundamental changes in the way in which Americans worked, went to school, and interacted with the service industry, the pandemic was traumatic and demanding. 


The pandemic also raged in a critical election year. An existential concern of election protection advocates ahead of the 2020 election was ensuring that polling locations were adequately staffed on Election Day. Due to understandable health concerns, many traditional poll workers opted out of the in-person election work. If their spots were not filled with trained replacements, counties could have been forced to consolidate polling locations, making it harder for Pennsylvanians to vote.


How could 1,000+ new poll workers be recruited, particularly in high-turnout counties, in order to avoid precinct closures and massive lines on Election Day?


A number of state and national partners made Pennsylvania its number one priority for a sophisticated, multi-million-dollar campaign with the goal of recruiting and training 1,000 new poll workers to backfill vacant Election Day positions.


The Clear Point Communications was brought in a few months before Election Day to be project manager for the communications efforts of the numerous partner organizations, staffers, and consultants working on various aspects of the effort. The job included oversight of social media and digital content and an extensive volunteer texting campaign, creation and management of numerous digital toolkits, oversight of an influencer campaign and special events, and planning and execution of a targeted tele-townhalls, among many other coalition activities.


In the end, the project exceeded our recruitment goal, and the effort was lauded in news stories and by elected officials, including Senator Bob Casey.


In concert with national and state partners, including major labor and voting rights organizations, the campaign — with Clear Point Communications designing and directing message and communications strategy — recruited 54,018 leads, including 9,898 people who signed up directly with The Voter Project and local/state partners through public events, targeted online outreach, and a comprehensive call/text program. The campaign provided over 25,000 verified names to 15 county administrators across the state and supported people in directly applying to their counties. We trained 8,274 attendees at 69 Information Sessions and helped hundreds of people secure positions. On Election Day, we deployed over 350 people to help fill last-minute vacancies and provide ballot counting assistance. In the end, no polling locations in the state of Pennsylvania were closed due to poll worker shortages, a tremendous accomplishment.

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