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Inspired young people stepping up as poll workers on Central Coast

Young poll workers
Oliver Forster/KEYT

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The 2020 election is galvanizing the younger generation.

More young people have become poll workers in Santa Barbara County and around the country during this election.

At one Santa Barbara polling place, two 17-year-olds signed up to be poll workers during this election despite being too young to vote in it.

Natania Bass did so even though she lives in Newbury Park. She wanted to get involved, but poll worker positions in Ventura County were already filled up. She decided being a poll worker was worth the long drive.

“I’ve followed this election closely, and I just think it’s a really important opportunity and it’s cool to be involved,” she said.

“I just wanted to be here and help out ‘cause I think it’s important for everyone to vote, and since I can’t, I just wanna help out as much as I can,” Makayla Flint, a 17-year-old from Santa Barbara.

Other young poll workers say they felt compelled to fill poll worker positions this year to help protect the election process during a tumultuous year, amid a presidential race with significant attention.

“I have family that served in the military and fought in multiple wars for this country and [voting is] our right,” said Niles Sterner, who also was a poll worker during the 2018 midterm election. “And providing this service to the people of Santa Barbara, and to the county of Santa Barbara is—I mean, I can’t think of anything better to do with my time.”

Sterner also wanted to fill a role that elderly or at-risk residents may feel uncomfortable doing this year, during the pandemic.

“Just understanding that the average age of poll workers generally skews towards the older age, kind of viewed it as a civic duty to step up and step in,” he said.

Article Topic Follows: Local Politics

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Ryan Fish

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