Despite concerns of shortages, Kansas City metro election boards see surge in poll workers

Posted at 4:00 AM, Oct 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 23:22:44-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The 2020 presidential election is on pace to see high turnout across the Kansas City metro. Combine that with the need for more, larger polling locations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and there was concern about having enough people to work the polls.

41 Action News set out to visit election boards across the metro, to find out if they were staffed for the election. Overwhelmingly, local election boards have more than enough workers.

"It's really exciting. Initially you go through that concern of are we even going to have enough people to man the polls and now we're fortunate enough to be in a position that we not only have enough people to man as we normally would, but we're sending extra people so they can help with opening doors and the flow of traffic and curbside voting and wiping things down," Clay County Election Director, Tiffany Francis said.

"We have actually 4,000 people that applied this election only. We had so many people, it's hard to work them," Kansas City Election Director Shawn Kieffer said.

Kansas City and Clay County aren't alone. Johnson County has seen similar results.

"What's happened here, which has been a blessing, really unbelievable," Johnson County Election Commissioner Connie Schmidt said. "We've had probably over two thousand people who have stepped up as brand new poll workers."

"I think we'll have well over 2,000 poll workers for election day at our 108 different buildings," Jackson County Election Director Corey Dillon said.

There's also another theme these election boards all share: younger people stepping up to work the polls.

Schmidt said she loves the poll workers because, "They are the foot soldiers. They are the heroes of Election Day."