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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — He’s not a partisan person, and his organization — the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) — is independent and bipartisan.
But for what it’s worth, Ben Hovland — currently vice-chair and previously chair of the EAC — was nominated by former President Donald Trump before being confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate.
Hovland’s idea to overcome the election integrity skepticism of some of the followers of the former president?
Become a poll worker.
“For people who have questions about elections, this is a great way to be a part of the process, to get those answers,” Hovland said. “We need a whole spectrum of Americans to participate in the process, and it’s really a great way to help your friends and neighbors to vote and to participate in the process.”
Part of that, he said, is basic customer service — from welcoming voters through thanking them and providing an “I voted” sticker. But part gets into the nuts and bolts of election integrity.
“Some of those things that you get to see as a poll worker are all of the checks and balances that are in place, the safeguards that are in place,” Hovland said. “You’re meticulously checking down the list, confirming safety seals are in place, writing those numbers down.”
Hovland made his comments on the eve of “Help America Vote Day” Tuesday.
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Most counties pay poll workers about $150 to $200 per election, including pay for a mandatory training session before the election. You can find more information here. Election workers generally have to be 18 years old, although 17-year-old high school students can participate in many counties.
Hovland said poll workers became particularly scarce during the COVID-19 pandemic when some long-time senior poll workers were afraid to serve. So election offices are trying to turn that challenge into an opportunity.
“This is a great opportunity for our young people — for another generation — to learn about how to serve their community, learn more about how elections run,” Hovland said.
And for all generations, he said, to become credible local experts in the process.
“To folks who have questions, you become sort of an authority on the process,” Hovland said.