(FOX 9) - The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing an older generation of poll workers to opt out of this upcoming election.
With November fast approaching, there’s a push across the country and in Minnesota to get younger people working at the polls.
"Poll working is an essential part of democracy," said Scott Duncombe with Power of the Polls.
Fearing a shortage of workers at the polls in the November election, recruitment efforts are underway.
"We're trying to recruit the next generation of poll workers," said Duncombe.
Duncombe is with a non-partisan nonprofit called Power the Polls. He says traditional poll workers are being sidelined by the pandemic.
"A Pew study established that about half of poll workers were over the age of 60, so it’s a population that’s very at risk for COVID-19," he explained.
"What we’re really shooting for is making sure that no polling place is closed," he added.
"I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll be good for Election Day, but we’ve got to work it," said Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.
Simon says any given election year, roughly 30,000 poll workers fill a wide range of paid positions.
"The pay can be all over the map, some places are paying close to or as much as $20 an hour and even 16 and 17 year olds get paid the exact amount," said Simon.
With more than 40 days until the election, polling positions are still open.
"Our office is working with those local governments to come up with some creative solutions, some innovative things this year, going to unusual or different sources to seek people and fill that job and do that duty," Simon added. "I’m confident in the next 46 days, they're going to find those folks. We’ve just got to keep after it, we just can’t hope the problem away."
Poll worker positions range from voter assistance to election administration jobs. For more info on how to become a poll worker, you can head to mnvotes.org.