JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —
In the weeks leading up to the General Election on November 3rd, one of the biggest concerns the Duval Supervisor of Elections has, is making sure they have enough poll workers.
Robert Phillips, the Chief Elections Officer at the Supervisor of Elections told Action News Jax Courtney Cole they’d ideally like to have 2,000 poll workers for the election cycle.
Phillips told Cole, so far they’ve had 300 new poll workers sign-up and they have 1,800 experienced poll workers on their roster.
But when COVID-19 case numbers go up, poll worker numbers often go down, so they need as many poll workers as possible.
“Because of the demographic of our poll worker population, we are concerned about the virus,” Phillips told me you can expect to see more, younger poll workers.
Phillips said he’s glad to see more interest from young people.
“This matters more this year to me than ever!” exclaimed Elaine Dickerson.
Dickerson is one of the dozens who filled the room for poll worker training class at the Duval Supervisor of Elections.
She told Action News Jax Courtney Cole her oldest son, registering to vote, inspired her to sign-up.
“I feel very good about this. I have some dear friends who are trainers in this class and that’s what got me involved as well,” Dickerson said.
You can register on the Supervisor of Elections website.
To qualify to become a poll worker, you must: be a registered voter in the state of Florida and Duval County. You also have to take a three-hour training class, required by law.
“It is long commitment. On Election Day, you have to be there at 6:00 a.m. You may not get done until 11:00 p.m. or 12 o’clock at night, so you have to be prepared to put in the time,” said Phillips.
When Cole asked if there was a deadline to sign-up for the poll worker training class, Phillips said, “The sooner the better, because we want to have as many as we can, but we have to have them come in. They have to receive training before we can put them out there.”
It’s important for the Supervisor of Elections to have more than enough poll workers, because they likely will need them.
During the March election, they had more than 100 in reserve and used almost every one of them.
In August they had about 40 poll workers in reserve.
“We are into our second or third week of it right now. It will run through the middle of October,” said Phillips.
Trainees will see a slide show that goes over basic election laws, what they need to know to get them through the day.
“What kind of identification is allowed, how to look up a voter on the e-vid, electronic voter identification. How to issue a ballot to that voter, how to assist a voter at the bowling machine, how to open the bowling machine, things like that,” Phillips told Action News Jax Courtney Cole.
The Chief Elections Officer of the Supervisor of Elections also told Cole they always have some experienced poll workers in the class with the newbies.
Dickerson told Action News Jax she’s looking forward to learning a lot and seeing how things work behind-the-scenes.
“It matters and I think I’m gonna get some great information out of it and I can share it all around,” said Dickerson.
Poll workers do get paid for their time on election day.
But Phillips told Cole most poll workers participate out of the desire to be a part of the process and serve the community.
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