By Suzanne Potter
This story was originally published by Public News Service.
Today is National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, and counties across Nevada and nationwide are looking to hire.
Between the pandemic and the retirement of thousands of older people who have served as poll workers, the situation is grim for ensuring there will be enough people for midterm elections.
Donald Palmer, chairman of the Election Assistance Commission, an independent federal agency dedicated to helping states run clean elections, said 52% of jurisdictions described it as “very” or “somewhat” difficult to recruit a sufficient number of poll workers in 2020.
“It was very acute, probably around April, May, June of 2020, in the primary season,” Palmer recounted. “We had a steep drop-off. There was even the National Guard that was used in some states.”
Last year saw rising reports of harassment of poll workers and even death threats against some election officials, after former President Donald Trump and others claimed the 2020 election was “stolen,” despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would have changed the result.
Palmer, who was appointed by former President Trump, said everyone should treat poll workers with respect.
“They should understand that they’re there to facilitate the vote of every American, regardless of political affiliation, race, creed,” Palmer urged. “They’re there to help, not to hinder.”
Palmer said in 2020, 775,000 Americans served as poll workers, and about 637,000 served during the last midterm election in 2018. Poll workers in Nevada make about $150 a day and receive $25 for training. To find out how to sign up, contact your county clerk’s office or look online at HelpAmericaVote.gov.