KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In light of a critical shortage of poll workers due to the coronavirus pandemic, the US Election Assistance Commission announced that Sept. 1 will be National Poll Worker Recruitment Day.
The goal is to encourage potential poll workers to volunteer for November’s election.
In Johnson County, election workers already are seeing new faces.
“We’re real excited. We probably have about 700 new poll workers that have signed up to work for the November election just within the last 2 or 3 weeks," said Connie Schmidt, Johnson County Election Office commissioner, "and we have more signing up every day."
But Schmidt acknowledged election offices can never have too many volunteers, especially given the current pandemic. Many of the county’s regular poll workers are older, which places them at a higher risk for contracting the virus.
That reason alone prompted Cary Johnson to work her first election in August in Kansas City, Missouri.
“There were times when there would be 10, 20 people in line and everyone that came to vote was very friendly,” she said. “It was a really long day, but I felt really good about myself at the end of it.”
Johnson plans to work the polls again in November.
“Everybody was really friendly, and you felt like part of a team and were doing something for the good of the city you live in, the county you live in, the state, country," Johnson said.
This year, the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council passed an ordinance allowing paid leave for city employees to work elections. The hope is that younger individuals will help.
“Even though it was a 14 hour day, I felt energized and good at the end of it that I was there and doing my part,” Johnson said, suggesting others should try.
Those interested in becoming an Election Day worker in Kansas City can find more information on the Kansas City Election Board website.
Those interested in joining the Johnson County Election Office’s team for the November election can apply online.
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