Las Vegas Sun

June 18, 2024

Guest Column:

Veterans stepping up to serve our democracy

Mail-in Ballot Recount

John Locher/AP

Election workers feed ballots into machines during a recount of mail-in ballots at the Clark County Election Department, Thursday, June 30, 2022, in North Las Vegas, Nev.

Poll workers power elections. This is true across the country and here in Nevada. Every election cycle, it is local citizens stepping forward to serve their communities that enable Nevadans to vote and trust that their votes will be accurately and fairly counted.

Right now, many counties across Nevada are falling short of the poll workers they need to fully staff our elections, both for the June primary and the November general elections. In order to help address this issue and to invigorate a new civic tradition, we are asking Nevada’s veteran and military family community to serve as poll workers.

In 2022, Vet the Vote, a nonpartisan civic initiative, launched an effort to encourage veterans to step forward and help address the nationwide poll worker shortage. Working with over 30 veteran and military-family service organizations and civic groups, and partners such as the NFL, Vet the Vote helped more than 63,500 veterans sign up to serve as poll workers. This included hundreds of Nevadans from across the state.

The Secretary of State’s Office and Vet the Vote are partnering this year to build on that success and to encourage more of Nevada’s veterans and military family members to serve as poll workers. Nevada has more than 200,000 veterans and is home to a large and active military community. There is a long and distinguished history among Nevada’s veterans of stepping forward to serve their communities, and we can think of no better way to do so now than to help ensure Nevadans can exercise their right to vote.

There are many critical roles veterans and military family members can fill to help administer Nevada’s elections. This includes things such as opening the polls, checking in voters and maintaining the safety and security of ballots, to name just a few. Veterans and military family members can also help educate and inform Nevadans about where and how to vote. The Secretary of State’s Office and Vet the Vote announced this new partnership with an interactive experience for veterans to learn about the opportunities to get involved — several veterans at the event signed up right then and there to serve again.

This effort is about community and civic service, not politics. Nevadans look up to and respect our veterans and military families. We are grateful for the sacrifices they have made to protect our country. Veterans and military families understand what it means to serve and know the importance of preserving and protecting our most fundamental rights, including the right to free, fair and secure elections.

We’ve also seen how when veterans and military family members serve as poll workers, it sets a powerful civic example for others to follow. Serving as poll workers also builds important connections between the veteran and military community and the broader society.

To sign up to serve as a poll worker in Nevada, veterans and military family members can go to the Vet the Vote website or visit NVSOS.gov.

We are excited to launch this effort and look forward to engaging veterans and military family members across the state.

Francisco Aguilar was elected as Nevada Secretary of State in 2022 and assumed office Jan. 2, 2023. The Secretary of State’s Office regulates elections, registers corporations and other businesses, and regulates Nevada’s securities industry, among other duties. Army veteran Dan Vallone is director of Vet the Vote, a nonpartisan initiative to recruit veterans and military families to serve their communities again as poll workers.