COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Election day is less than three weeks away and the Franklin County Board of Elections is still in need of a couple hundred poll workers.
Election officials said, in a county as big as Franklin, they need a lot of people working the polls to make sure everything runs smooth. The goal is to have 5,000 poll workers by Nov. 8, and they feel confident they’ll get there.
“We simply can’t do this job without our poll workers,” said Franklin County Board of Elections Public Information Officer, Aaron Sellers.
Sellers said poll workers are your neighbors and friends, the faces you see when you go to cast your ballot on election day. He said they need a couple hundred more people for precautionary measures.
“We are at a very good spot but we are always looking for more people to become poll workers just because we may be a couple hundred short now but we may be 400 short next week because things come up,” he said.
Sellers said he blames the lack of poll workers partly on COVID-19 since many seasoned poll workers have not returned. He said other reasons may be fears of the long day, but former poll workers said that shouldn’t be a worry.
“I liked the comradery, I liked how I felt good even though it was a very long day at the end of the day that I was doing that civic duty that apparently there’s a huge need for,” Davis Petikas said.
Sellers urges everyone who is interested to sign up. He said it’s a paid gig, requires a few hours of training and is vital to the election process.
You are eligible if you are a registered voter, enjoy working with people, will attend a training session, available for the current election, have reliable transportation and have never been convicted of a felony.
“We have anywhere from 44 to 46 full time staff members here at the board of elections in a county of 880 thousand registered voters,” said Sellers. “There’s no way that we could pull off a full county wide election.”
The training classes run up until the weekend before elections. If poll worker harassment is a deterrent, multiple cities, including Columbus, have passed laws protecting poll workers during this election.
View the application to become a poll worker here.