Villanova Community Members Serve as Poll Workers


Dr. Lauren Miltenberger worked the polls this Election Day.

Sarah Wisniewski, Co-News Editor

According to the Department of State, in late September, more than 3,000 individuals signed up to be poll workers. The state’s demand for workers on Election Day is about 50,000. Montgomery County, right outside of the University’s borders, states that each poll location should have a minimum of five poll workers on Election Day. 


Delaware County, the county in which on campus voters are registered under, states that poll workers are a “critical component of the American election process and serve a vital role in ensuring the integrity of our vote here in Delaware County.” Poll workers for any location are required to set up polling locations, sign in registered voters, provide information on the procedure of voting, oversee equipment and ballots and monitor conduct of the election.


Registered voters can sign up during or after registration to participate as poll workers. Villanova has a few community members this year and in past years who have taken up the duty to work on Election Day.


Senior Anna O’Keefe, double majoring in Communication and Political Science, worked at the polls last year but was told this year that all the slots in her district were filled. 


“I actually loved being a poll worker in the last election, and this district needed a lot of support,” O’Keefe said. “With the media attention around the Senate and Governor race in PA, I think constituents were more inclined to get involved. When I signed up to work again in September, I was informed slots were already satisfied, and that I would be put on an ‘if needed’ list.”


O’Keefe decided to sign up to work last year after working on a voter registration campaign. She had an interest in seeing how the process worked in action. When asked if she would recommend the job to others she said yes. 


“I definitely would,” O’Keefe said. “It is so interesting to see civil engagement in the works and to be on the other side of things.” 


Another student who has experience as a poll worker is Annie Holmes. She is also a senior studying Communication with a specialization in Public Relations and Advertising. Holmes shared why she got involved initially as a poll worker.


“My dad is an elected official in my home township, Haverford, and in May of 2020, given the pandemic, there was a severe shortage of poll workers, so I decided I’d step up and work the 15 hour day,” Holmes said. “My dad has been commissioner since I was four, and I’ve always gone to the polls with him every election day before I could vote. Working the polls gave me the opportunity to come full circle.”


Holmes did not work this Election Day due to conflicts in her schedule but shared her enjoyment of past experiences working the polls.


“People are always shocked to see someone so young working inside the polls on Election Day so it’s really rewarding in the end too,” Holmes said. “I can’t remember specifics, but people often say things along the lines of, ‘It’s good to see that young people care about the elections and the future of this country.’”


Professors, alongside their students, have stepped up to work the polls. Gina Talley, M.A., a professor in the History Department, will be working this Election Day.


Talley first became a poll worker in November 2020, following a national shortage due to the pandemic. 


“As a relatively young and healthy person, I wanted to help fill the gap,” Talley said. “I had such a rewarding experience that I continued to work in every election.”


Talley also commended the group of women she has worked with every year, describing them all having positive attitudes and making it a “wonderful experience.”


As for changes from previous years, Talley stated that this year ran very smoothly. Particularly, she pointed out that there were fewer questions about the mail-in-voting process than in years past.


Anyone interested in becoming a poll worker should reach out to their county’s voter office and find opportunities specific to their district.