Local Boards Of Elections Still Looking For Poll Workers!



IdeastreamPublicMedia.org, By Abigail Bottar, Posted October 27th 2022

Local boards of elections are still in need of poll workers for next month’s election.

Stark County Board of Elections Deputy Director Regina Johnson said more workers are needed to reach their goal of more than 1,000 volunteers.

“We still need a large number of poll workers both for active duty and as backup,” Johnson said.

The county is still trying to rebound from the pandemic, when older poll workers stopped volunteering due to health concerns, she said.

“It does mean also that there was a little discontinuity,” Johnson said, “and that some people got out of the poll workers system a little bit earlier than they would have otherwise.”

Many poll workers in Portage County come from the League of Women Voters of Kent. But President Debbie Barber worries people are scared to volunteer because of threats to poll workers in recent years.

“I just think it gets pretty stressful, which is totally unfortunate,” Barber said.

Johnson said poll workers are trained to deal with stressful situations, and the training was amplified by the Secretary of State‘s office after the 2020 election.

“Part of the training is dealing with difficult situations, de-escalation training,” Johnson said. “What happens if somebody says these kinds of things? What do you do? How do you handle it? And we do walk people through those, but I don’t believe that that many of our voting location managers have had to deal with those difficulties.”

Officials from the Portage County Board of Elections said they’re looking to recruit 60 more alternates before the Nov. 8 election. Director Faith Lyon is expecting high voter turnout.

“We are seeing an influx of absentee ballot request forms already,” Lyon said, “and a lot of individuals are starting to call to check for in-person voting hours.”

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Market Outreach Department Manager Mike West said they have hired and trained 75% of the 4,000 poll workers they need for the election. He said they’re still recruiting and doesn’t expect to be short staffed next month. He expects turnout in the county to be around 50%, which he said is average for a midterm general election.

Early voting and absentee voting is now in progress. More information is available here.

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