With less than three months until the Nov. 3 general election, Seneca County Board of Elections leaders are searching for precinct election officials, or poll workers.
As of this week, about 110 people have committed to working the election, but the county needs about 120 more to run an efficient election.
Election board Deputy Director Lori Ritzler said becoming a poll worker is a way to serve the community, help democracy and meet new people. She also said it is a great way to gain a better understanding of the election and voting process while also making some extra money.
Poll workers are paid $120 for a full day of work, with an additional $30 for in-person training, and $10 for online training. To be eligible to work the polls, you must be a registered voter in Seneca County who is 17 years of age or older. You must not have been convicted of a felony and you cannot be a candidate on the ballot for the current election.
Precinct election officials must attend training, have transportation to and from the polls and must be willing to work from 5:30 a.m. to about 8 p.m. Election workers will prepare polling locations, process voters and issue ballots.
Commissioner Shayne Thomas, who has served as a poll worker in the past, encouraged people to get involved and give a day to democracy.
Board of Elections Director Jim Ehrman said this year’s election is different due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but he said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is working closely with his office to ensure a safe, comfortable environment for election workers and voters alike on Election Day.
LaRose pledged earlier this month that the November election will be safe. Ehrman said diligent hygiene practices will be required at polling locations and that poll workers will be provided with a more than adequate amount of personal protective equipment.
Recommendation from LaRose’s office include enforcing six-foot social distancing inside and outside of polling stations, mandatory masks or face shields and requiring voters to wash their hands when entering and leaving.
Poll workers are critical to the success of the election, Ritzler said, while urging young professionals and students to get involved as well, as the older population may be more at-risk of developing serious complications if they were to contract COVID-19.
Board of Elections leaders are reaching out directly to county government employees and service organizations to ask people to do their part by working the polls.
For more information, or to sign-up for a training date and to become an election worker, call the elections office (419) 447-4424, or e-mail the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.