New Jersey actively recruiting poll workers to fill Election Day gap
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a nationwide shortage of poll workers, causing some New Jersey counties to actively recruit new workers to fill the gap on Election Day.
Election officials in Bergen County say that they are gearing up for what they say will be an unprecedented election with a record number of mail-in ballots to count, along with the poll worker shortage.
“It’s going to be a task. We will be up for it. We will get it done. It’s going to be rough,” says Richard Miller with the Bergen County Board of Elections.
Poll workers are typically older adults, and many are opting out this year because of COVID-19 fears.
“They are concerned about people getting too close,” says Miller.
This is why Bergen County election officials are exploring multiple avenues to recruit new poll workers, including reaching out to college students, retired teachers, veterans and town clerks. They are even advertising on Facebook.
Miller says that they are doing everything they can to protect the workers from the virus.
“We have gloves for them. We have sanitizer, masks – face masks if they want – goggles, spray, so we are really making sure our poll workers are fully protected,” Miller says.
The poll worker position is a paid position, but hours are long – 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. But there are plenty of breaks throughout the day.
“They have their breaks they can take. They have time for lunch, time for dinner,” Miller says.
Bergen County officials say that they are confident that they will fill the vacancies. But if any municipality in the state is struggling to find poll workers, the National Guard will step in to help.
Anyone who is interested in a poll worker position should contact their local board of elections.