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Election officials facing poll worker shortage hope to recruit new workers

In honor of National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, the election commission is asking people to sign up for November.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — As we approach the November election, officials are seeking people to apply to become poll workers.

According to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, there is a critical shortage of poll workers due to the coronavirus pandemic. Traditionally, most poll workers are older than 61, and that age group is most at-risk for contracting coronavirus.

Each year the commission designates September 1 as National Poll Worker Recruitment Day. Because of the pandemic, it's more important now than ever for people to sign up to become poll workers.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections said it will provide appropriate personal protective equipment to workers, put social distancing measures in place, and will have routine cleanings at polling sites.

The State Board said it is "committed to protecting election workers' health and safety."

If you're interested in becoming a poll worker, you must apply online.

Qualifications for a poll worker include:

  • You must be a registered voter.
  • You may not be a candidate or relative of a candidate.
  • Cannot be an elected government official, hold office with a political party or be a manager or treasurer for a candidate or political party.
  • You may not serve at the same polling place as a spouse, child, spouse of a child, sister or brother.

It's also important to note, the State Board of Elections has said that applicants must be registered to vote in the precinct where they wish to work. However, this year only, because of the pandemic and shortage of workers, some workers may work out of their home precinct.

Poll workers are tasked with being the staff at polling places during early voting and on Election Day, setting up and closing down the voting enclosure, checking in voters and issuing ballots, and assisting voters upon request.

If you have any voting-related questions, reach out to our Voter Access Team. You can email Stacey at sspivey@wfmy.com.