Poll Worker Crisis

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Poll Worker Crisis Past Crisis Current Crisis Affect Change Voter ID '07

The Poll Worker Crisis in America


From the Associated Press

There is currently a shortage of at least 500,000 poll workers nationwide.
The Election Assistance Commission estimates that the average age of a poll worker is 72 years old.

The New York Times

For every three poll workers trained, two do not show up on election day.  Roughly 1.4 million people have been trained to serve as poll workers [on Election Day 2004], the same as four years ago. But nearly 2 million were expected to be needed…

Whittier Daily News

The Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters is currently looking for an additional 25,000 poll workers for the 5,065 polling places participating in the June 6, 2006 primary election.

CBS 5 San Francisco, CA

The Contra Costa County Election Department is reporting a shortage of close to 2,500 poll workers for the June 6, 2006 primary.

What the Experts Are Saying:

“If the criminal justice system didn’t have access to jurors, the criminal justice system wouldn’t exist. Poll workers are just as important as jurors.”
--DeForest Soaries, chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, quoted by the Associated Press

“Where’s the next generation of poll workers? We need passion about this whole process and civic participation.”
-- Kay J. Maxwell, president of the U.S. League of Women Voters, quoted in a

2004 Associated Press article

“[Poll workers are] the foundation upon which democracy rests…the cornerstone of democracy is the right to vote, but to be able to exercise that right there must be polling places and poll workers.”
- Victor Salazar, Fresno County Clerk, quoted in the Fresno Bee, April 21, 2006

“As long as they’re breathing and they can walk in, we have to take them. The people we hire for the most part are elderly, uneducated, and frequently unemployed.”
- Barbara Jackson, Baltimore’s director of elections, quoted in USA Today

“There isn’t a county in our state that doesn’t have this as an ongoing issue. It’s just the way it is.”
-Jill Kelly, Director of Elections, Lucas County, OH, quoted in the Toledo Blade

The Poll Worker Shortage in the Media:

“It’s mind boggling how much we ask these people to do,” says Connie McCormack, clerk of Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous voting jurisdiction with 4,602 precincts. “On any other job, if you make a mistake the first day, you correct it the next day. With this job, you don’t get a second day. That’s a huge expectation of perfection.”

A shortage of at least 500,000 poll workers nationwide has voters bracing for long lines, cranky volunteers, problems opening and closing the polling places, and the chance that results won’t be known until long after the polls are closed.

Although the county has 1,870 poll workers signed up, the board of elections announced recently that it still needs 110 works—68 republicans and 42 democrats—to work on election day.
--Toledo Blade, POLL WORKERS GET READY FOR ELECTION, April 22, 2006

At 4 p.m. Monday, only 14 hours before the polls open this morning, Sadler still was looking for 33 people to be inspectors. Without them, 33 polling places will be dark and locked when voters begin showing up at 6 a.m. today.
- Indianapolis Star, Late push needed to staff polls in county


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