With less than two weeks until Election Day, the state of Ohio has started to prepare in one way: by training precinct election officials.
In Franklin County, that is done with a 221-page election official’s training manual, full of detailed instructions and checklists.
“You can conduct the entire election, as we should, using the material,” election class instructor Sharyn Rigsbee told some course attendees Thursday.
Some positions people can be trained on include:
- Voting location manager or deputy: Oversee, in change of polling location
- Roster judge: Processes voters using electronic poll books
- Paper ballot judge: Oversee all paper ballot voting and process provisional voters
- Machine judge: Oversees voting on the ballot marker, kiosk and ballot counter
- Location liaison: Welcome and assist voters and make sure voters deposit their ballots before leaving
Boards of elections generally prefer that people looking to serve as a manager or deputy have worked a few elections previously.
“To get some experience under their belt before they would take on that roll as the voting location captain,” Franklin County Board of Elections spokesperson Aaron Sellers said.
On Thursday, NBC Statehouse Reporter Natalie Fahmy was trained as a location deputy. Deputies are second in command — they oversee everything and learn all of the different positions, meaning they know how to check voters in, issue provisional ballots and verify voters’ IDs.
Deputies also upload the list of early and absentee voters to their “poll pads,” which are used to check voters in.
“They cannot have the ability to vote twice, so this is really critical and a key thing that you will be doing,” Rigsbee said. “We want to ensure voter privacy and safety. If you keep that top of mind, you’ll be fine.”
The Franklin County Board of Elections also issues cell phones to location deputies, which are used to notify the board of elections when their polling place is open on Tuesday morning, and if they need any sort of assistance.
Once training happens, poll workers aren’t quite off the hook before Election Day. Franklin County has practice runs the weekend before.
According to Secretary of State Frank LaRose, 76 of the 88 Ohio counties have met their minimum number of poll workers — but you are still able to sign up to be a poll worker at this page on the secretary of state’s website.
In Franklin County, initial training sessions are held Monday through Thursday at 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., or 6:30 p.m.