Gasconade County Clerk Lesa Lietzow and her staff are joining a nationwide effort aimed at locating and training precinct workers for the Nov. 3 General Election.
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission recently announced plans to seek the assistance to coincide with National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, set for next Tuesday, Sept. 1. The commission is striving to encourage workers to sign up as judges for the polls for the upcoming election. The awareness day was established by the commission as the result of a critical shortage of election workers during the coronavirus pandemic. The day is intended to highlight the benefits and importance of working the polls and inspiring more Americans to volunteer to serve in that capacity.
"As always, I am in need of more help throughout the county as we head toward Nov. 3," Lietzow told the Advertiser-Courier. "In the November presidential election, when voter turnout is at its highest, some of the larger precincts need additional help. That means, rather than two Democrats and two Republicans, we will need three of each, thus the need for additional names on file."
Lietzow said the Little Berger precinct (rural Hermann), Bland/Canaan and Rural Canaan (rural Owensville and Rosebud), are the most serious areas needing assistance to work the polls.
"I am considering possibly adding two more precincts to that list, who both have (approximately) 900 registered voters, and that is Hermann Ward 2 and Owensville Ward 1," she added. "By having the two additional judges, the poll book can be split. That is, last name starting with A-K or last name L-Z, so there are two sign-in tables since that is where the slowest point of voting is."
Notices to appoint judges will be sent out in early October, so the County Clerk's office is encouraging anyone interested to respond soon. In order to serve at the polls, a judge must be a registered voter of the county and declare their political party affiliation. The pay is $85 for Election Judge or $95 (plus mileage) for Supervisory Judge.
The commission said most jurisdictions task election workers with setting up and preparing the polling site, welcoming voters, verifying voter registrations, and issuing ballots. The poll workers also help ensure voters understand the voting process by demonstrating how to use voting equipment and explaining voting procedures. County clerk staff provide training ahead of the election.
According to the commission, most poll workers have traditionally been over 61 years old, making them particularly vulnerable to complications if they contract COVID-19.
"This has resulted in a critical need for poll workers who are willing and able to assist with the administration of in-person voting," the commission added.