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Poll workers needed in Douglas and Sarpy counties

Posted at 5:44 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 18:44:07-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — November 3rd will be here soon, and while many will be voting by mail this year, poll workers are still needed to help those who will be voting in person.

Douglas County Election Commissioner Brian Kruse says around 3,000 poll workers are needed to make election day run smoothly. Right now the county is close to that goal, but volunteers are still welcome to sign up.

“I wouldn’t say we’re in a crisis right now, but we’re definitely still looking for additional poll workers, just for that gap and that cushion," he said.

Kruse says workers are needed, not only for the polling location, but to help with the numerous ballots that will be coming in through the mail. The office has created a team of both volunteers and temporary employees to help with this task.

Sarpy County is also expecting a large voter turnout through the mail, but volunteers will not be part of that mail-in process.

"With this presidential election being such an exciting year for all voters on all sides, we are fortunate that we’ve had almost 50,000 apply for a ballot by mail so far," said Sarpy County Election Commissioner Michelle Ardahl. "So that does take some of the pressure off of having long lines at some of our polling places.”

So far Sarpy County has around 400 of the 520 volunteers needed for November.

Both counties say they are seeing an increase in younger volunteers stepping up, filling in for older volunteers who may be at high-risk for the coronavirus.

"It's wonderful to see that there are so many people coming in from each age group to help, because that ensures that as our other age groups age out of the process, we have continuity of historical knowledge of how the process works to keep this going for many years to come," Ardahl said.

Workers are paid for their time, are protected when it comes to their other job and must be registered to vote in the county they plan to volunteer in.

“Our goal for November is to allow every voter who would like the opportunity to vote, to vote, and to vote the way they choose, whether that’s by mail, in person in our office or at their polling place and to do that successfully," Kruse said. "And I’m 100% confident that we can do that.”

One final reminder for voters, once you’ve turned in your application and requested a ballot by mail, you cannot vote at your polling place. You can however drop off your ballot in the designated boxes on Election Day.

Volunteer in Douglas County: https://www.votedouglascounty.com/poll_worker_training_reply.aspx

Volunteer in Sarpy County:
https://www.sarpy.com/offices/election-commission/poll-workers