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Sat Aug 1, 2020, 09:28 AM

Coronavirus creates election worker shortage ahead of November

This discussion thread was locked as off-topic by applegrove (a host of the Latest Breaking News forum).

Source: Politico

First it was toilet paper. Then it was cleaning supplies. Now, a new coronavirus-era shortage is threatening the November election: Poll workers.

Recruiting volunteers to check in voters, supply ballots and deal with issues has never been easy for election administrators. But in interviews and public statements, more than a dozen election administrators and voting advocates warned that slow poll worker recruitment could be a major vulnerability for the 2020 election.

Election officials across the country are seeing early shortages and scrambling to recruit a new generation of poll workers for Election Day, looking to maintain a volunteer force that has relied heavily on senior citizens in the past — the cohort most vulnerable to the coronavirus. Poll workers are responsible for everything from making sure voters get the right ballots to helping people with issues as they vote, and shortages could add confusion, long lines and delays to an Election Day process that has already been upended by the pandemic.

“We need 39,870 people for Election Day and early voting, and we don’t have anywhere near that. We have 13,021 vacant positions, [about] 32 percent statewide,” said David Garreis, the president of the Maryland Association of Election Officials. “The hardest thing that we have to do in any election is to recruit election judges. And in this year, it's impossible.”

Read more: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/07/31/coronavirus-election-worker-shortage-389831

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 09:31 AM

1. this is a huge problem as election people are usually older types in the first place

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 09:44 AM

2. My daughter and I are both election judges this year.

There’s a major shortage of us where we are (East Texas).

-Laelth

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 10:00 AM

3. We have to push to allow people to drop off pre-filled ballots.

This will reduce lines tremendously even on election day. The only time needed at the poll is to sign a register and drop the ballot.

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Response to Pobeka (Reply #3)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 10:33 AM

6. Actually, "drive through" voting is probably one of the best ideas.

Have people wait in their cars, register carside (attendant with a face shield), give them a paper ballot on a clip board and have them park in a cordoned-off "voting" section of a parking lot, then turn it in to another worker with gloves and a face-shield at an exit-only station.

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Response to forgotmylogin (Reply #6)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 12:53 PM

12. That too, yes. For people without cars and alternative is necessary.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 10:15 AM

4. Pollworkers are NOT volunteers

Maybe it would help if the media would stop describing poll workers (in NYS we are called Election Inspectors) VOLUNTEERS.
we are paid for our time and training. We have to go to election inspector school annually to brush up on the technical stuff and election LAW.
We take an oath. Most of us are on the other side of 60. Most of us are female.
At least that's how it is in Delaware County NY where I have served off and on for more than a decade.
Every ED needs two republicans and two democrats usually. this is one of the main reasons for the contraction of polling places in the pandemic.
One reason you see so many retired women as poll workers is that the $180 - $200 an election sure comes in handy.

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Response to peanuthead (Reply #4)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 10:36 AM

7. Welcome to DU.

and thanks for this important info.

I am also an Election Inspector here in NY, BTW, and I can attest to everything you've said.




#newrostrong

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Response to peanuthead (Reply #4)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 01:00 PM

13. Compensated volunteers

I think it might be a "legal" description.

They're called volunteers in Texas too.

I remember someone wanted it posted by the Texas Workforce Commission. But it can't, because it is not employment. It would be nice if we could get younger people into the fold.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 10:31 AM

5. I figured. Even more reason to vote by mail.

In a country that was dealing with the pandemic in a sane and rational manner.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 11:28 AM

8. Why can't we provide hospital grade PPE to election workers? Then they could work safely

Theses problems are not impossible to solve, yet, we cannot because our pres doesn't want to. What a world.

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Response to lettucebe (Reply #8)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 12:12 PM

10. PPE is one thing.

Getting them to risk or trust when the payment is pittance and the abuse can sometimes be excessive is a problem. The poll workers I've known do it mostly out of civic commitment.

Is that commitment enough to risk death?


Note that this "could" and "might" and "will" is a mistake. "Has" is the appropriate verb: In a lot of primaries there were consolidated polling stations and unduly long lines because of a lack of poll workers. While we can speculate that the same problems will happen in the future, it's not baseless speculation.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 11:50 AM

9. The Daily show every night has been putting on a website asking for poll workers

Thursday said they’ve gotten over 60,000 responses. He said poll workers can be as young as 16 in some states. People need money so hopefully they’ll be able to find poll workers.

https://www.eac.gov/voters/become-poll-worker

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Response to kimbutgar (Reply #9)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 01:21 PM

14. That's so cool!

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Response to kimbutgar (Reply #9)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 04:25 PM

15. Post Rec, thanks & spread the word!

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 12:51 PM

11. This is a good part of the reason we need universal mail-in ballots, plus early voting.

In FL mail in voting for Dems is very risky and early voting is the only sure fire way here to ensure your vote is counted. Haven't heard anything about early voting yet, but I'm expecting the repugs to attack it too since they don't want to let us vote this year.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 06:00 PM

16. K&R for the post and the discussion.

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 06:31 PM

17. Guess we'll have to cancel the election, after all...!


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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Sat Aug 1, 2020, 11:46 PM

18. After a concensus by hosts ... Locking

Alert message: Posted more than 12 hours after original

"Statement of Purpose

Post the latest news from reputable mainstream news websites and blogs. Important news of national interest only. No analysis or opinion pieces. No duplicates. News stories must have been published within the last 12 hours. Use the published title of the story as the title of the discussion thread."

Here is the earlier story:

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/07/31/coronavirus-election-worker-shortage-389831

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