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Pulaski County needs to hire more poll workers for this year's busy election cycle, the elections director told commissioners Tuesday.

During a discussion of appointing workers for the March 3 primary, director Bryan Poe said his team has been "shaking the trees" to come up with people to staff the polls for the election.

"We are begging people to work," he said.

Every two-year election cycle sees the loss of about 20% of the poll workers during primary season, Poe explained.

But this year -- a presidential election year, when higher turnout is expected -- he anticipates extra losses when the county starts using tablet-style electronic poll books to check in voters, which some workers may feel less comfortable using.

About 900 people are signed up to man polls in the county, which has the largest population in the state.

Tuesday's discussion also reprised an ongoing conversation about the party affiliations of Pulaski County poll workers. Election Commission chairwoman Evelyn Gomez, a Republican appointee, has pushed for more party diversity in those rolls.

"Here's one thing I kind of wish I see, is not only having one party at a [polling] location," she said.

Gomez added that she understands that the elections staff is turning over every stone to find people to man the sites.

An application to become a poll worker is available on the Pulaski County Election Commission website, votepulaski.net. There are options to fill out an online form or to print out materials to return.

Qualifications to become a poll worker include the ability to read and write English, being registered to vote in the county, not having been convicted of violating election law, and a few other rules that are laid out in A.C.A. 7-4-109.

Three worker trainings that can accommodate 75 people are scheduled, though more can be added if there is demand, Poe told commissioners.

SundayMonday on 02/16/2020

Print Headline: Running low on Pulaski County poll workers, official says

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