HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM)- The November election is a little over a month away and counties are making sure they have enough poll workers.
The Pennsylvania Department of State says it takes about 45,00 poll workers to staff poll locations across the state. The state is pushing to get more younger poll workers by encouraging 17-year-olds to sign up if they get a permission form from their school principal and parent.
“It’s a fantastic way to get people closer to their government, to see how the system works and I think if you serve as a poll worker at 17, you will take voting more seriously and you will be much more likely to become a regular voter in your adult life when you’re able to cast your vote at 18,” president and CEO of Committee of 70 Lauren Cristalla said.
York County officials say there will be about 1,000 poll workers for the municipal election in November.
“Next year, with the presidential election, we’ll be looking at more than 1,300 to 1,400 people we’ll be needing,” York County Chief Operations Officer Gregory Monskie said.
Dauphin County election officials are confident in the number of poll workers it has, especially for next year.
“We talked to a lot of them about next year, we feel right now, we’ll still have a large part of them coming back,” Director of Dauphin County Bureau of Registration and Elections Jerry Feaser said.
However, Dauphin County still needs more bilingual poll workers at about 40 precincts.
“We also need Nepalese-speaking poll workers, said Feaser. “Dauphin County is home to a large Bhutanese immigration population as many of them have become naturalized U.S. citizens, they’re now voting and we want to make sure we have people at our polling places who are able to interact with them in an effective manner,” said Feaser.
While Pennsylvania as a whole is facing shortages, some counties are reporting they are not in danger of closing polls, but are still looking for poll workers for future years.
In Clearfield County, commissioners and the election and voter registration office, are looking to recruit more poll workers now and into the future. They’re not in any danger of closing poll, but there are vacancies. They added that they’re always looking for community members to step up and help out.
“We’re doing pretty good for this election for poll workers,” Mary Tatum, Clearfield County commissioner said. “But anybody interested in becoming a poll worker should absolutely contact our elections office.”
“Poll workers are vital because for the polling stations to be effective, we have to have poll workers,” Tatum added.
If you’re considering becoming a poll worker, election officials say now is the best time.
“A municipal election year is a little more calm, a little more relaxed, next year is going to be a very busy election season,” said Feaser.