Shortage of election workers straining polling locations

Elections 2022

A voter registration table is seen at a political event for Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Fredericksburg, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(NewsNation) — Some election headquarters say they are going to be OK on Election Day, but others across the country aren’t quite so lucky. They are short election workers and with midterms right around the corner.

“It’s really critical and we want to bring in people that represent the full spectrum of the public,” said Ryan Pierannunzi of the Fair Elections Center. “So really, getting more folks involved every year is really critical.”

“Power the Polls” estimates 1 million poll workers are needed for elections; some counties are down thousands of workers.

Shortages have been reported in places like New York, California, Ohio and Texas.

In Green Bay, Wisconsin, election officials say fewer poll workers could mean a more complicated Election Day.

“The counting of the absentee ballots will take longer and then for the wards, there will be longer lines because we won’t have enough people to work the poll book,” said Green Bay City Clerk Celeste Jeffreys.

The number of election workers began to drop at the start of the pandemic when elderly workers opted to stay home. But a recent survey shows there are also some fears.

The Brennan Center for Justice reported one in six election workers experienced threats on the job; 77% of those who were polled feel threats have increased in the past few years.

“This is our reality since November 2020. it’s been a very challenging time and the reality is this is happening to your neighbors, your grandparents, myself,” said Weld County, Colorado, Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes.

In Cook County, Illinois, election officials got creative in dealing with a shortage of workers and put out a call to veterans, asking them to help this election season.

“When I heard the Clarion call that we need veterans, my ears kind of stood up,” said veteran poll worker Henderson Yarbrough.

In Florida, Hurricane Ian put even more strain on polling locations in counties severely impacted by the storm. Both Lee and Sarasota counties think they will have enough poll workers come election day.

© 1998 - 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNation

Elections 2022

More Elections 2022