This day of action is meant to assist poll worker recruitment efforts throughout Mississippi and across the nation.

In conjunction with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson has proclaimed August 16, 2022, as Help America Vote Day in addition to National Poll Worker Recruitment Day.

Established in 2020 by the EAC, National Poll Worker Recruitment Day is a day of action with the goal of encouraging potential poll workers to sign up to Help America Vote.

Secretary Watson is over halfway through his 82-County Tour in which he is meeting with circuit clerks and election commissioners from each Mississippi county. During these meetings, adequate staffing of poll workers continues to be an issue.

Watson said that poll workers, in addition to circuit clerks and election commissioners, are the unsung heroes of elections.

“Their efforts are crucial to providing a positive and smooth experience at the polls,” said Secretary Watson. “As we have discovered through our 82-County Tour, it is imperative that we continue to support our local election officials to ensure free and fair elections in Mississippi.”

According to the EAC, America has faced a critical shortage of poll workers due to COVID-19.

“Even as many states offer access to vote-by-mail and absentee voting options, millions of Americans – especially voters with disabilities and those who lack reliable mail service – will continue to rely on in-person voting to cast a ballot,” the EAC said.

Most poll workers have traditionally been over the age of 61, making them especially vulnerable to complications if they contract COVID-19.

“This has resulted in a critical need for poll workers who are willing and able to assist with the administration of in-person voting on and before Election Day,” the EAC continued.

The Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office noted that in Mississippi, any qualified elector of the county may serve as a poll worker. Those interested in serving may complete a registration form found on the Secretary of State’s website.

“Poll workers are critical to the success of an election,” the EAC stated. “Having an adequate number of poll workers to staff polling places on and before Election Day can ensure voters receive the assistance they need at the polls and can help provide a positive and smooth voting experience for all. By signing up to be a poll worker, you can Help America Vote.”