Tazewell County hopes to recruit more poll workers

Tazewell County Building in Pekin

The Tazewell County Clerk’s Office said it will be participating in National Poll Worker Recruitment Day on Sept. 1 to encourage more people to sign up to become election workers for the November election.

Established by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, National Poll Worker Recruitment Day aims to raise awareness about the benefits and importance of poll working and inspire more Americans to volunteer.

“Poll workers are the unsung heroes of the democratic process, and right now we’re facing a critical shortage of these dedicated volunteers,” said EAC Chairman Ben Hovland. “Recruiting poll workers is a challenge for many election officials across the country and the COVID-19 pandemic has made this need even more critical. We encourage Americans, who are able and willing to serve, to sign up to help America vote and work the polls on Election Day.”

While their specific duties and compensation vary depending on location, most jurisdictions task election workers with setting up and preparing the polling location, welcoming voters, verifying voter registrations, and issuing ballots.

Poll workers also help ensure voters understand the voting process by demonstrating how to use voting equipment and explaining voting procedures. Election staff and volunteers are recruited and overseen by the local election authority, which provides information and training to poll workers in advance of Election Day.

“Working the polls on Election Day is a great way to strengthen our democracy, participate in the democratic process, and make it easier for vulnerable people to stay home,” said Tazewell County Clerk John C. Ackerman. “My office thanks our amazing election judges following each election, but this year’s conditions are unprecedented and their performance and commitment to serve the citizens of Tazewell County to this point has been nothing short of tremendous”.

Amid COVID-19, America is facing a critical shortage of poll workers. Even as many states expand access to vote-by-mail and absentee voting options, millions of will continue to rely on in-person voting to cast a ballot.

Most poll workers have traditionally been over the age of 61, making them especially 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 on Election Day.

More about poll working and National Poll Worker Recruitment Day is available at HelpAmericaVote.gov. To volunteer to serve your community as an Election Judge, call the Tazewell County Cleck’s Office at 309-477-2264, Ext 3. Election judge training sessions will be held Sept. 18 and 19 for the Nov. 3 general election.