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Poll workers deserve a higher wage

With so much pressure placed on the presidential election, many Americans continue to encourage one another to participate politically in any way possible.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States witnessed a decrease in poll workers. NPR reported that in 2018, 58 percent of poll workers were aged 60 or older; ages more likely to contract the virus. And while many officials encourage citizens to vote by mail, an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that 54 percent of voters plan to take to the polls on election day; the United States needs poll workers.

Now, the younger population of the country is expected to pick up the slack and work the polls ahead of this year’s election. Edvisors, an informational organization for financial aid to college students reported that 60 percent of college students ran out of money before their semester ended. So, working the polls might appear as an easy way to make quick cash for broke college students.

However, looking at the numbers, the pay might only help finance a college textbook or two; poll workers typically earn around $140 or less. Montgomery county poll workers earn $110, while Washington county poll workers can earn a minimum of $130. Typically, these individuals work 15-hour shifts, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. That breaks down to about $8.66 per hour, not including any potential taxes taken out.

According to Indeed, on average, sales associates in the Lehigh Valley make $10.91 per hour, while the average salary of a server lies at $11.57 per hour. Working as a peer tutor for

LCCC can earn students $9 an hour, for 5-15 hours each week. Ultimately, college students can make more money working less time-consuming jobs than taking to the polls.

If the United States recognizes such a dire need for poll workers in the upcoming election and that the target employment audience is college students, they should raise their pay to match their competition; students can make quick cash working more manageable hours at a part-time job than dedicating more than half their day to an under-paying one.

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