Lew Moorman speaks to a packed crowd. Photo by Scott Ball.
Tech Bloc Co-Founder Lew Moorman speaks to members at Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery at the launch of Tech Bloc in May 2015. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

On Thursday, Tech Bloc and Bexar County officials will host a luncheon and informational session at the Geekdom Event Centre at 131 Soledad St. to recruit the next generation of election clerks and technical support members who will volunteer in paid positions for the upcoming presidential election on Nov. 8.

Election clerks help organize polling locations, process voters, and assist with any problems on site, while election technical support helps troubleshoot the increasing amount of election technology present at any given polling place.

Tech Bloc Co-Founder and CEO David Heard told the Rivard Report on Monday that the idea to push for younger volunteers originated with Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff gives the opening remarks about The Daughters of the Republic of Texas’ new facilities. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff delivers opening remarks at a press conference announcing The Daughters of the Republic of Texas’ new facilities. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.

“(Wolff) has partnered with us on several programs for the tech community,” Heard said. “He was aware that we had an issue with volunteer activity around voter registration and Millennial tech people. So we’re reaching out to get them more involved with the process.”

The current crop of election workers are upstanding and hardworking people, but they are aging, he said.

Tech Bloc Founding Member David Heard. Photo by Josh Huskin, courtesy of PechaKucha San Antonio.
Tech Bloc founding member David Heard. Credit: Courtesy of Josh Huskin / PechaKucha San Antonio.

“Anyone who’s been to vote in an election recently knows that the face of the election volunteer community is older, which is a beautiful thing,” Heard said. “The Baby Boomer generation has been doing this for a long time. The Millennial generation has become the largest number of people alive as a percentage of the population. This is a perfect opportunity to get them to step up and make sure elections happen fairly and efficiently.”

Sharing the same sentiment, Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacquelyn Callanen said the partnership they have started with Tech Bloc is perfect match.

“Elections are evolving, and we’re assigning more technology to our election officials, so it was a fantastic idea to reach out to the young, tech-savvy people and bring them into the election fold,” Callanen said.

The rapid change in technology presents an opportunity to have the younger generation help the County’s longstanding election volunteers, she said. “The average age of an election official in Bexar County is 72.6. Don’t get me wrong, these people are fantastic. They do an admirable job. We were just thinking that this program would help take a load off their backs. This isn’t just a Bexar County problem. Nationally, election workers are a really dedicated group of people who are aging.”

The program on Thursday is an attempt by forward-thinking County officials to help solve a problem often overlooked when considering youth participation in the electoral process, Heard said.

“This program is a great one that will have some impact at the volunteer level,” he said. “We have a County judge and County elected officials that are pretty progressive and are really working hard to create programs that involve young people.”

The event is free and open to the public. All volunteers must be registered to vote in Bexar County. To register for the informational session, where county officials will be present to go over details, click here.

James McCandless

Former intern James McCandless is a recent St. Mary's University graduate. He has worked with the San Antonio Current and Texas Public Radio.