Charleston, W.Va. — September 1st was National Poll Worker Recruitment Day. It was an effort hosted by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to focus the country's attention on the need for poll workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In West Virginia, the majority of registered voters casting a ballot in the November General Election will do so in-person. West Virginia allows voting in-person for ten days (Oct. 21-31) prior to the November 3rd General Election. On Election Day, it takes about 9,000 poll workers to staff the state's 1,708 voting precincts.
WV Secretary of State Mac Warner said that he's been working with county clerks long before the June Primary Election to recruit registered voters to volunteer to serve as paid poll workers for the General Election. Poll workers are paid for their services.
Warner kicked off the "Elective Service Campaign" to educate citizens on what poll workers do. He launched a website link to make it easy to apply to become a poll worker. More on the campaign can be found at this link: https://services.sos.wv.gov/Elections/PollWorkers/Register/.
"Several of our veteran poll workers are over 60 years old. They may decide to sit out the General Election," Warner said. "So we've been working to recruit others to serve. Our veterans will be back in future elections."
For the June Primary, Warner's office developed a partnership with the WV Real Estate Commission to help recruit realtors and brokers to serve as poll workers. For the General Election, the state's United Way organizations are helping Warner recruit poll workers.
In the first full week of September, a total of 423 registered voters applied to become poll workers for the General Election. That included a total of 171 applications received on September 1st alone - National Poll Worker Recruitment Day.
However, from the June 3rd Primary Election to date, a grand total of 1,318 registered voters from 38 different counties have volunteered to be poll workers in their home county. This is in addition to the poll workers who were already nominated by their parties to work Election Day.
Warner said that he has been working with all 55 county clerks to secure protective equipment for poll workers and staff members. He said that gloves, masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies will be available to keep all 1,708 polling locations and election equipment clean and safe.
"Not one case of COVID-19 was attributed to voting in-person during the June Primary Election. We expect the same for the General Election," Warner said. "The safety of our poll workers and in-person voters is our top priority."
For more information on how to become a poll worker, visit GoVoteWV.com.