SIDNEY – The Shelby County Board of Elections is seeking poll workers for the Nov. 3 general election as concerns persist that many of the usual workers will decline to serve this year, largely because of COVID-19.
Addressing the Shelby County commissioners Thursday morning, Shelby County Board of Elections Deputy Director Collin Claywell said 15 percent of the county’s usual poll workers had confirmed they would work the Nov. 3 election. He made the comment two days after a confirmation request was sent.
“It’s a big number,” Claywell said of the 85 percent who hadn’t confirmed yet. “We can manage it if I do the recruiting right.”
Claywell offered several strategies for how Shelby County could recruit the 210 poll workers it’s seeking – six for each of the county’s 35 precincts.
The deputy director said he will attend a Sidney Kiwanis meeting to recruit, and Commissioner Tony Bornhorst offered to contact the Rotary Club of Sidney.
Claywell said Boy Scouts had inquired about working while Bornhorst suggested a history club at Fort Loramie High School might be able to help.
High school seniors are highly encouraged to serve as poll workers, Claywell said. It’s a great resume builder for any college or job application, he said.
Students who want to serve as poll workers should coordinate arrangements with their teachers, advisers, principals, counselors and parents. The board of elections can provide documentation for excused absences and apply that to any community service, academic or extracurricular credits.
Additionally, the state has announced continuing education incentives for accountants, lawyers and real estate agents who serve as poll workers.
Claywell asked the commissioners if county employees would be available to work as poll workers. They’re ideal candidates, he said, because of their experience in dealing with the public and familiarity with COVID-19 disinfecting procedures.
Montgomery County, where Claywell worked prior to coming to Shelby County, allows county employees to work the polls while collecting their normal pay plus poll worker pay.
The commissioners didn’t commit to the idea but said they were open to it. They did say while they could authorize a program, it would be up to each elected official to decide if their employees would be available.
Poll workers must be a United States citizen, be a resident of the county in which they serve, and be at least 18 years old and registered to vote or 17 years old and a high school senior. Workers cannot be a candidate in the election and must not have been convicted of a felony or elections law violation.
Poll workers will be paid $101.50 for working Nov. 3 and $20 for attending an approximately two-hour training session.
The board of elections also is looking to hire cleaners who can help disinfect polling locations. Cleaners will be paid $101.50 for working the entire election day or $50.75 for working a half day (6 a.m.-1 p.m. or 1-8 p.m.).
There are programs that allow poll workers to share their pay, donating any portion of their election day and training pay to a charity or organization of their choice.
Anyone who is interested in becoming a poll worker should call 937-498-7209 or email Shelby@OhioSoS.gov with their name and phone number. They should mention their interest in working the polls or working as a polling location cleaner.
Poll worker training will be held between Oct. 1 and Oct. 15 at the Shelby County Annex, 129 E. Court St., Sidney.
Claywell and the commissioners discussed plans for the training sessions Thursday morning. Training previously was held at the Board of Elections Office, which is unavailable this year as it will be used for early voting.
Early voting will be available at the Shelby County Board of Elections Office, 230 E. Court St., on:
• Oct. 6-9: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
• Oct. 12-16: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
• Oct. 19-23: 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
• Oct. 24: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
• Oct. 25: 1-5 p.m.
• Oct. 26-30: 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
• Oct. 31: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
• Nov. 1: 1-5 p.m.
• Nov. 2: 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Absentee ballot requests have been mailed to all registered voters for those who would like to vote by mail. And anyone who wants to vote in person Nov. 3 will be able to do so.
For more information about the Shelby County Board of Elections, visit https://co.shelby.oh.us/board-of-elections/ or call 937-498-7207.
Reach this writer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-538-4824.