Charleston, W. Va. — Poll worker recruitment efforts have been very successful for the upcoming General Election, according to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office.
According to Matt Gallagher, the special projects coordinator for the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office, in just three days (Sept. 11, 12, and 13) a total of 1,667 registered West Virginia voters signed up to serve as alternate paid poll workers for the Nov. 3 General Election.
Secretary of State Mac Warner has led a statewide effort called “Operation Elective Service.” The project encourages registered voters to sign up to serve as alternate poll workers and help counties fill critical positions left vacant by veteran poll workers who have chosen to sit out this election because of their age and the current pandemic. As a result of the voters’ response, county poll worker numbers are looking very good for the upcoming election.
Gallagher said the dramatic increase in the number of volunteers is directly related to carefully coordinated social media strategies and efforts by executive committees, candidates, political committees, and political parties.
Anticipating that the majority of West Virginia voters will vote in-person during early voting, October 21 to 31, and on Election Day, November 3, Warner and the county clerks made recruiting poll workers a priority over the summer.
“We are extremely proud that so many West Virginians have responded so positively to our request for poll workers,” Gallagher said. “We want to make sure counties have enough alternates to fill in, should poll workers decide it is best to stay at home because of COVID-19.”
Gallagher said nearly 9,000 poll workers are needed on Election Day to staff more than 1,700 of the state’s voting precincts. Poll workers must be registered voters of the county where they sign up to work and will be paid for their service. More information on how to “Become a Poll Worker” can be found online at GoVoteWV.com or by calling your county clerk.
To protect the poll workers, voters, and general public, Warner and the county clerks have been working since the June Primary to secure all of the personal protective equipment needed to keep in-person voting safe for the November General Election. Gloves, masks, face shields, and hand sanitizer will be used at every precinct. Cleaning supplies will be readily available for poll workers to keep polling locations and election equipment clean and safe.
“Not one case of COVID-19 has been attributed to voting in-person during the June 3 Primary Election,” Warner said. “The health and safety of our poll workers and every voter is a priority for my office and our county clerks.”
According to Warner, the effort to recruit alternate poll workers will continue for several more weeks. When a county requires an alternate, the county clerk will contact volunteers on an as-needed basis and schedule training before the election.