Volunteering as Election Poll Workers in New York

By Sister Aileen Halleran

In September of this year, there were many calls for volunteers to work the polls for the US election. Given the turmoil around the upcoming election and in the nation itself, Sister Roberta Kerins and I decided to make our contribution by volunteering to be poll workers. We applied and were accepted. A 3-hour training class was required for all workers. The various tasks of a poll worker were reviewed: opening and setting up the scanning machine or the iPad for voter ID, directing the voter to the proper districts, learning how to handle the poll watchers. As newbies Roberta and I were a little intimidated by what seemed a little complicated. I asked if as new people we would be with an experienced worker. The answer was, “Well, we are a little short of poll workers!!!”

A few weeks later we received our assignments and the poll location. Roberta’s assigned task was being a relief worker, filling in where needed or covering when someone was on break. On the actual day she took on the role of information clerk – helping voters locate their election district. I was assigned the role of scanner inspector – assisting people place their ballots into the scanner to record their votes.

The day began at 5:00 am setting up the scanners, tables, and signage indicating where people were actually to go to vote. Voters lined up and began voting at 6:00 am. There was a steady stream of voters all day. Gratefully, given the COVID-19 threat, the gym was never packed with people. People were quite serious as they approached this task. One woman, 68 years of age, was voting for the first time. There were many young first-time voters. Some came with their parents, others by themselves. One voter said this was a very important election and he had to be part of it. It was very touching to see New Yorkers in a snap shot – old and young, multi-lingual, multi-shaded, cut-offs and hijabs all purposely exercising their civic duty. And many thanked us for our service.

The poll workers themselves represented the area: many young, middle aged and a couple of seniors (us!!). Experienced workers were very helpful to those of us who were new to this. A wonderful spirit of service was present. Roberta and I both felt we had contributed positively to our election process and commented we would do it again.

More Charity Alive – November 2020


This month’s theme engages us with the theme of transition.

Celebrating Nonagenarians

Celebrating our Sisters who are over 95 who have continuously evolved over their 7 decades of service and community within the congregation.

We Remember Them

From the 1890’s to the present day, some 1070 sisters of twenty-seven different religious communities taught, nursed, cared for the children, women and men of this Diocese. That included about 167 Sisters of Charity of Halifax.

“Come Walk With Me”

On this 200th Anniversary of Elizabeth Seton’s death and entrance into her beloved Eternity, she invites us to spend a few moments with her in the Valley of St. Joseph.

From the Archives

As the Sisters of Charity – Halifax embark on a new transition of leadership at the end of 2020, we’re looking back at another time of change in the community.

Charity Alive – October 2020

Gratitude in a Time of COVID-19

What makes gratitude so important?  Gratitude is an approach to life which recognizes everything as gift. It is a deeply Christian virtue, a recognition that life in all its aspects is not a right to be claimed but a gift to be received.

Season of Creation

Every year we familiarly celebrate the seasons of Advent, Lent, and Easter with their rich and reflective liturgies. Now, thanks to our ecumenical sisters and brothers we have been given an opportunity to celebrate a new liturgical season, the Season of Creation.

Associates Coming to Chapter

We have already been introduced to the first six in our August and September issue of Charity Alive. This month we would love to introduce the others.

2020-11-25T15:40:28+00:00By |Comments Off on Volunteering as Election Poll Workers in New York
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