MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Preparations are underway to make sure polling locations are fully staffed come election day. Many counties are using student interns to help.
Alabama’s student poll worker internship allows students to work at the polls.
“I like to take advantage of every opportunity that I have to explore new career fields," said Jaiden Walker who is an intern.
This is the first general election where students like Walker can intern as poll workers in Alabama.
Student workers can do everything a poll worker can do except handle a ballot or determine voter eligibility, according to Secretary of State John Merrill. The program comes just in time because of the pandemic.
“But in looking forward to that we may have some that are maybe ill or can’t participate on Election Day. We’re trying to pack those polls with poll workers to cover that, and having the student interns available is just an extra added protection for that," said Autauga County Probate Judge Kimberly Kervin.
Lyneria Deranus, another intern, said this opportunity is leader her to dream big.
“I enjoy the reactions of the voters the intense like of different parties in action. Being enthusiastic about it," she said. “It has inspired me to get involved in politics, but as of right now, I plan to get a college degree first.”
Kervin says the program helps pave the way for future poll workers as many current ones are part of the elderly population.
“So I think the benefit of having the student interns come up and learn those experiences, and follow in those footsteps. It’s gonna be great for the county," Kervin said.
Governor Kay Ivey is allowing student workers to get paid $50 for working election day during the pandemic. This is usually an unpaid position.
Students can apply for the internship at the Secretary of State’s website.