Labor Unions Plan to Turn Out an Army of Poll Workers for the Election

A lack of poll workers can lead to a lack of available polling places ― and voter disenfranchisement. Given that the pandemic has made door-knocking infeasible in so many areas, labor groups are diverting some of that energy and resources to the poll worker cause. “With COVID, door-to-door has gone by the wayside. So this is how we show up for the moment,” said Michael Podhorzer, who leads political strategy at the AFL-CIO labor federation, which includes 55 unions. “It’s a million-person workforce that kind of has to be replaced. This has to get done.” The AFL-CIO’s executive council discussed the poll worker issue in June and decided to make it a priority, Podhorzer said. Several of the federation’s member unions ― including UNITE HERE, the United Steelworkers, the American Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ― are contributing to the effort with their own recruiting programs launched this summer.

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