If you want smooth elections in Idaho, volunteer as a poll worker


Editorials and other Opinion content offer a perspective on issues important to our community and are independent of the work of our editorial reporters.


Voters are waiting in line as polling workers check people at the polling station at North Junior High School in Boise in this photo from 2021.

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Voting is already open in many places across the state and election day is fast approaching.

It is worth asking if you have time to contribute.

Several times in America’s history, elections have been tighter. Huge numbers of people have lost faith in them because of the lies spread by former President Donald Trump and his flatterers. Efforts have been made to prevent the certification of fair elections. And there were others regarding the events.

In Arizona on Tuesday, there were six cases brought to the US Department of Justice over people allegedly involved in voter intimidation with guns. Shockingly, a judge appointed by Trump has ruled armed stakeout in Arizona as legal.

As recently noted by director of the Institute for Human Rights Research and Education Devin Burghart, candidate for governor and serial criminal Ammon Bundy is encouraging your followers to register as official survey observers (official observers on behalf of the campaign, as opposed to survey staff actually doing election work).

It’s his right as a candidate. But it also increases the risk of some stupidity in the polling stations. Bundy’s associates terrorized children alone at home, intimidated elected officials, broke into the Capitol building, ended public meetings and closed an ambulance.

Then there were two armed clashes with federal law enforcement.

So it’s a good time for ordinary people to get a little more involved in the process of administering local elections. If you’ve been sitting and watching from the sidelines worrying about democracy, it’s worth spending a day keeping it running smoothly.

You can do this by hiring staff at a polling station, doing the simple job of ensuring voting compliance, helping people who wish to register, and checking names and addresses while maintaining political neutrality.

Your party doesn’t matter. Your ideology doesn’t matter. All that matters is the willingness to work for a few long, boring hours for a relatively low salary.

(You also have to be willing not to talk about politics, or distribute flyers or other nonsense like that. If you do, you’ll be in trouble.)

No matter where you live in Idaho, you can almost guarantee that the election office in your constituency will suffer for the poll staff. This is a role that is often played by older members of the community, especially older women, and the sad fact is that there will always come a year when someone who has worked at a polling station for a long time will not reappear.

Therefore, district officials always need new volunteers to show up and help run polling stations.

You can apply directly on the Idaho Secretary of State’s website.

You can come to learn the basic truth about the elections in Idaho and across the country: finding out who won is exciting; everything else is totally down to earth.

But it is also one of the most important jobs we do as a nation.

Bryan Clark is the reviewer for the Idaho Statesman of eastern Idaho.

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Bryan Clark is a reviewer from an Idaho Statesman based in eastern Idaho. He is a journalist working for ten years, the last seven years in Idaho.


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