FRANKFORT, Ky. — Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is proud to support House Bill 309, allowing 16-year-olds the opportunity to serve as precinct election officers.
“As Secretary of State I have encouraged our young people to be the difference makers in their communities,” said Grimes, Kentucky’s chief election official.
Like many other states throughout the nation, Kentucky has trouble recruiting people to run precincts on Election Day. In recent elections, Grimes has made statewide calls for Kentuckians to serve as poll workers in order to overcome shortages.
“This could be such a win for our youth,” Beth Malcom, president and CEO for the KY YMCA Youth Association, said. “Every day we seek to empower and educate young people about opportunities for civic engagement. Part of a healthy society is a democracy with multi-generational investment and engagement. Getting teens involved as early as possible can only benefit the future of our commonwealth.”
Currently minors can serve as precinct election officers at 17 as long as they are turning 18 on or before Election Day. House bill 309, sponsored by Rep. Angie Hatton, would allow 16-year-olds to serve as well.
“As a mom of teenagers, I see firsthand the impact that being involved in our democratic process can have on young and developing minds,” Rep. Hatton said. “I am confident that allowing more young people into the election process will only benefit our future.”
Through this bipartisan effort, more than half the states allow students who are 16 or 17-years-old to serve as poll workers, according to the Election Assistance Commission.
“Our elections depend on 15,000 hardworking precinct election officers that show up on Election Day,” Grimes said. “Many of our senior poll workers have served for over 40 years. They are ready to pass on the torch and there are young people all throughout this commonwealth who are eager to carry it.”
For more information or to sign up to become a precinct election officer, visit GoVoteKY.com, contact your county clerk or your party’s county executive committee.