The decision not to protect poll works puts us out-of-step with our neighbors. Poll workers are in group 1C in all Pennsylvania counties except for Philadelphia. New Jersey’s Governor Murphy has included poll workers in group 1C, giving them priority for vaccination right behind people in the 1A and 1B groups. And poll workers were just added this week to New York’s currently eligible essential workers cohort.
But Philadelphia officials are still dragging their feet and won’t commit to moving poll workers up in line.
CBS’s Pat Loeb reports that city commissioners’ staff have been moved into 1B, but not the poll workers who actually interact with thousands of voters on Election Day. Election worker Ryan Godrey tells CBS:
A lot of these places were using as polling places can have poor ventilation, they can be small and cramped,” he said. “We can have a lot of people in a small space.”
And unlike many of the lower risk essential workers in the 1c priority group with them, they face an approaching deadline for getting the vaccine in time to stay safe on the one day they’re most at risk.
Many of the city’s election workers are senior citizens and may already be eligible, so it’s unclear how many additional people would be affected by moving poll workers up, but the City’s vaccination board should move quickly to add poll workers to group 1C.
People from all walks of life serve as poll workers, so we can’t make any assumptions that most are covered. Add your name to this action and call on elected leaders to allow poll workers to get vaccinated starting as soon as possible!
Let’s get this on the agenda, and make this important change to keep poll workers and voters safe going into Election Day!
Jon Geeting is the director of engagement at Philadelphia 3.0, a political action committee that supports efforts to reform and modernize City Hall. This is part of a series of articles running on both The Citizen and 3.0’s blog.Photo by Mark C. Olsen / New Jersey National Guard