Fifteen veteran and military service organizations, four civic groups, and the NFL have joined forces to create the VetTheVote coalition, a pro-democracy, non-partisan effort organized by We the Veterans to recruit 100,000 veterans and family members to be poll workers in the 2022 midterms.
The national shortage of poll workers has reached a critical level. The traditional cohort of poll workers has an average age of 60 and their outstanding volunteerism has been badly suppressed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Election boards across the country have struggled to recruit enough volunteers to run elections efficiently and effectively. America needs to recruit more than 1 million volunteers annually to administer election polling sites.
The shortage of poll workers has already negatively impacted our election system. Over the past few years, American communities have seen a drastic reduction in the number of polling locations and longer lines and wait times. In 2020, the situation was so dire that Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers activated his state’s national guard to assist as poll workers in 40 counties during the state’s primary elections. New Jersey also sent 120 soldiers in civilian clothes to assist — a first in state history. In early 2022, several voting locations in Texas were unable to open due to a lack of volunteers. There are similar stories from New York to Los Angeles and in just about every state in the nation.
“When I retired after 40 years in uniform, I looked for ways to continue to serve, so I volunteered to be an election poll worker. This might seem like a small thing, but I was involved with elections in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq, and I marveled at the impact that freely voting had on the people that voted. It’s something we should never take for granted,” said Gen. George Casey, U.S. Army (Ret.)
Coalition members include:
Vet the Vote will recruit poll workers using web-enabled infrastructure developed by our partner Power the Polls. Founded in 2020, Power the Polls is a first-of-its-kind, nonpartisan initiative recruiting the next generation of poll workers to ensure a safe and fair election for all.
"Democracies run on elections and elections run on volunteers. Our democracy needs veterans to serve again, this time by volunteering to be poll workers. Please join me and sign up to be a poll worker for the 2022 elections," said Admiral Steve Abbot, USN (Ret.), former Acting Homeland Security Advisor to the President of the United States.
There are more than 17 million veterans in the United States and millions more military and veteran family members. The veteran community is one of the most diverse and geographically diffuse populations in America, represented in every voting jurisdiction. We believe our community is up to the task and ideally positioned to help solve this national shortage of poll workers.
“Two years ago, we launched NFL Votes, a league-wide, nonpartisan initiative to support and encourage voting and civic engagement among the entire NFL family,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Continuing those efforts, today we’re pleased to join the Vet the Vote coalition to recruit and train military veterans and their families to serve as poll workers. We are forever grateful for their service to our country and this initiative will help ensure that our elections run effectively and efficiently for all voters, wherever they live, and whatever their background.”