Corona vaccination as a lure: Thousands want to become election workers

Rush to volunteer Corona vaccination as a lure: Thousands want to become election workers

Election workers check ballot papers.

Election workers in the state elections in Baden-Württemberg. For the polls, which took place on March 14th, there was not yet the opportunity to be vaccinated against corona because of volunteering.

© Christoph Schmidt / DPA

Election workers have not been considered the most popular volunteer work so far. But Corona changes that too: Berlin reports a real rush of applicants. Because a corona vaccination beckons them.

The corona pandemic and the great interest in vaccinations are blooming in Berlin. Thousands of people reported within two weeks who wanted to be used as election workers on September 26th. This is reported by the “Tagesspiegel”. The reason is the nationwide "vaccination bait" for the honorary harvest, as the newspaper puts it.

Normally, in times before the pandemic, the electoral offices were happy if they got enough applications at all. But Corona does not only whirl up the whole of public life. The pandemic suddenly makes volunteering extremely attractive. Because, according to the vaccination ordinance of the Federal Ministry of Health, which was updated in March, election workers are entitled to two corona vaccinations before they are used. Volunteering is a way of getting the coveted spades faster.

And Berlin can really use helping hands on that Sunday at the end of September. Because there the citizens not only vote on the Bundestag, as in all of Germany, but also the elections for the metropolis' House of Representatives and the twelve district councils take place at the same time. There may also be a referendum on the expropriation of large residential groups. So a lot of ballot papers that want to be counted.

Election workers are now in group three with the corona vaccinations

Those who help organize the elections move up to the so-called vaccination group three with higher priority. After all, they want everyone at the polls to be well protected against viruses and elections not to become a “super spreader event”. This regulation applies to the whole of Germany. It came too late for the state elections in Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg on March 14th. Here the election workers have not yet had the opportunity to receive preferential vaccination.

But it is also suitable for the state elections in Saxony-Anhalt on June 6th: "We will be able to start the vaccinations in good time before the state elections and thus make a contribution to infection protection in the polling stations," said Health Minister Petra Grimm-Benne (SPD) on Thursday in Magdeburg. More than 20.000 election workers are needed in the state - it is possible that the corona vaccinations will clearly stimulate interest in helping out on election day.

In Berlin this “vaccination bait” has now become a hotly debated topic. After the news of the possible corona vaccination had made the rounds in the media and first-time voters and all federal employees of the city had been written to, there was a real rush to the electoral offices of the districts, according to the "Tagesspiegel". Many applicants are younger than 18 years of age. A group of people who, given the normal vaccination sequence and the slow pace of the vaccination campaign in Germany, would probably only have their turn in a few months.

In the Steglitz-Zehlendorf district alone, around 1400 applications have been received online, according to the “Tagesspiegel”. In total, Berlin needs more than 34.000 voluntary election workers on the Super Election Sunday, the paper calculates. That is - also due to corona-related hygiene regulations - around 14.000 more than in previous elections. Because of the pandemic, for example, there will be more polling stations than usual to avoid crowds.

Organization of vaccinations still unclear

However, it is still unclear how exactly the volunteers should get the vaccination, i.e. in which steps it is organized and whether people should go to the family doctor or to the vaccination center, for example, the paper writes. According to the report, those responsible in the electoral offices also hope that the applicants will not first get vaccinated and then find an excuse not to help on election day.

When it comes to motivation, however, one is confident in the offices, writes the newspaper. Feedback showed that many people find the “one-day job in the service of democracy” attractive.

Conclusion: They are not just about the corona vaccination. But interest in volunteering as an electoral worker is clearly spurred on by the prospect of being vaccinated.

Swell: "Der Tagesspiegel", AFP,