The Secretary of State’s Office is teaming up with the Vermont Bar Association to enlist lawyers, law students to volunteer as poll workers at their local polling station.
“What we’re trying to do is just be prepared in case there is a surge,” said Secretary Jim Condos.
Condos said manning the polls on election day could present a challenge since older Vermonters are one of the most at risk populations for COVID-19.
“We know that most vulnerable cohorts of citizens are 60 and over and that happens to fall in line with the majority of poll workers not just here but across the country,” he said.
The goal– making sure that city and town clerks will have a pool of candidates to call upon, if needed. Jared Carter, a professor at Vermont Law School, says it’s a natural fit.
“Students and lawyers understand neutrality before the law, rule of law, and equality under the law and all of those are fundamental to a successful democratic election,” Carter said.
He says should there be questions or disputes at the polls, having a legal background could help.
“Having folks that are trained to understand the law and apply the law there in a neutral manner could be very important to the overall perception of the fairness of the upcoming election,” he said. “I think a lot of Vermonters and Americans are concerned with how this process will play out during a pandemic.”