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Texas Elections Are Going To Be Hard To Staff, So Voting Groups Plan To Recruit Poll Workers

Many long-time election workers across Texas have indicated they don’t plan to be poll workers during the pandemic, voting groups say.

Cinde Weatherby with the League of Women Voters of Texas said a poll worker shortage could be a huge issue if not addressed now.

“The traditional poll worker definitely skews in the older range,” she said. “A number of them have already said that they are just not going to be available. People with extreme vulnerabilities to the virus are probably not going to be working the election.”

In response, voting groups in the state have said they plan to help officials recruit workers ahead of elections, which is not an issue these groups typically work on.

Weatherby said the prospect bubbled up during the primary election in early March.

Travis County election officials said a handful of polling locations didn’t open on time  because poll workers were afraid to go to election sites as the coronavirus began spreading through the community.

The League plans on holding a webinar this week with election officials to start learning more about the recruitment process, so it can help out.

Weatherby said she hopes younger people – who may not have considered helping at the polls before – ask themselves whether this is something they feel comfortable doing. She said it could really make a difference if new people help out.

“The fewer people that we have involved, the less support that we have available,” Weatherby said, “and the less opportunity for people to vote.”

Got a tip? Email Ashley Lopez at alopez@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @AshLopezRadio .

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