In a 2018 survey by the Election Assistance Commission, 70% of jurisdictions reported a level of difficulty recruiting poll workers for the election held in that year, with more than half of these volunteers over the age of 60. With the higher risk to this population for COVID-19, this resulted in a significant drop-off of volunteers for the spring 2020 primaries, leading to fewer polling sites and longer lines.
The nationwide effort initiative led by APBCo involves more than a dozen law firms, placing lawyers in the most-needed polling zones on specific dates. Many firms allow lawyers that volunteer to count the hours toward their pro bono time, and some states are allowing the hours volunteered at the polls to count as continuing legal education credits to encourage the legal community to step up.
Lawyers, having the innate ability to problem solve, are a good fit to volunteer. With voters often unsure by their state’s varying election rules, it is up to the volunteers are the polls to provide guidance, and lawyers can provide confident answers.
“For me it came down to this — it is very important for people to be able to exercise that right,” (Caitlin) Lawrence (Senior Associate, Vinson & Elkins, LLP) said.
“And if I can contribute to it, even in a small way by making it easier because they have one extra person to staff a poll and maybe move people through those lines a little bit faster, for me that ended up being a benefit that was important enough for me to decide to do this.”
Advocate Capital, Inc. is proud that firms nationwide are taking steps to ensure our right to vote will continue to be an efficient process for our nation. To read more on this Law360 feature by Jack Karp, click here.
Buffy D. Escue
Executive Client Manager
Photo Credit: seventyfour74, 123rf.com