Pulaski County short hundreds of poll workers ahead of elections due to COVID

Local News

PULASKI COUNTY, Ark.- It may only be August but many people are looking ahead to the upcoming election.

While the number of absentee ballots is expected to skyrocket this year, we still need people to work the polls.

In the past, a majority of poll workers are over the age of 60 and Pulaski County Elections office said it’s having a hard time finding people who feel safe enough to work.

“We live in a different world than we previously did and we need to start this process earlier,” said Bryan Poe, Director of Elections.

The Pulaski County Elections Commission said it’s jump-starting its polling process a month early due to COVID-19.

Right now the biggest set back is finding people to work at the polling locations.

“Typically at this point in time we would have roughly 700 people who were ready to go but what we are looking at right now is we only have 400,” said Poe.

Bryan Poe the Director of Elections said the commission sent out a survey to more than 1,000 people who have worked during elections in the past two years and only 400 said they would return.

Poe said many people said COVID was the reason they wouldn’t be coming back this year.

“The average age of the folks who work the polls for us is 73 and as everybody is aware, that’s in a high-risk category,” said Poe.

Poe said because of the pandemic, the commission is actually looking to hire even more people to work the polls to help keep things clean, socially distanced, and safe.

However, names aren’t the only thing falling off the roster, some polling venues are also backing out.

“Everybody has to make their own decisions given all the things going on in the world right now,” said Poe.

Poe said the goal is to get enough people to work each location so no polling locations have to close.

“We are taking every measure that we can to try to protect the people that are going to be working the polls,” said Poe.

If you are interesting in working the polls this year, click here for the details.

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