COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio having two primary elections this year means more help will be needed when it comes to running the polls, and the Franklin County Board of Elections is taking a new approach to recruit poll workers.
During early voting for the May 3 primary election, voters can walk in, cast their ballot, and on the way out, be asked, “Would you be interested in helping out on Election Day as a poll worker?”
Franklin County Board of Elections spokesman Aaron Sellers said the board has never tried recruitment like this before.
“To do what we do, we couldn’t do it without poll workers,” he said.
The board will have a sign-up area for potential poll workers on-site and have information for them to take home.
Sellers estimates it may take more than 3,100 poll works across 320 polling locations for the May 3 primary alone, and with a second primary being required before the Nov. 8 General Election, he estimates more help will be needed.
“The reason that we’re having this is because we’ve had these discussions and meetings about the potential issues with being able to get poll workers for a second primary,” Sellers said
Statehouse races will not be on the May 3 ballot due to the ongoing redistricting situation — so a second primary for those races will have to happen. As of right now, no official date has been set.
“It’s going to be a challenge this year, there’s no doubt out it,“ says Aaron Ockerman, the executive director of the Ohio Association of Election Officials.
He added it’s difficult to recruit workers without knowing the exact date.
“It’s already a struggle for May 3; adding a second election, a second primary election to that makes it very difficult because we have to come back in November and ask these people to work a third election,” Ockerman said.
As far as election officials are concerned, the more volunteers they have, the better.
“I know Hamilton County in particular, in southwest Ohio, seems to be struggling to get poll workers out, but I think anywhere around the state, we’re going to welcome the assistance,” Ockerman said.
Sellers added, “It is vital to having this fair, open and honest elections and I would encourage anybody that would want to become a poll worker to reach out to us.”
Click here to learn more about signing up.