NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – It’s a job that thousands of Oklahomans sign up for each election cycle.
“Being a poll worker is one of the most important jobs in the United States of America,” said State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax.
“It’s rather amazing the numbers that we deal with,” said Assistant Secretary of the Cleveland County Election Board Kathy Singer.
This year, the numbers have skyrocketed.
“Especially in larger counties across the state, I think so many people have asked to sign up they don’t even have enough room to use all of them at this point,” said Ziriax.
Spring says usually they have about 300 precinct officials.
Back in June, that number dropped to 200 due to the pandemic.
“So we lost a third of them, so for those numbers to now be well over 400 for us, it’s amazing,” said Singer.
In the past, most election workers have made up a specific demographic.
“The average age of poll workers, they tend to skew older. Anybody that’s ever voted in person and kind of looks around at their precinct officials realizes that on average these tend to be older citizens,” said Ziriax.
Because seniors are more vulnerable to COVID-19, the younger generation are filling the roles.
“Younger people and citizens of different ages were stepping up to fill that gap and they’ve really done a great job,” said Ziriax.
Both Singer and Ziriax think that could be what caused the number of poll workers to balloon up.
“People are still coming in, though we are getting to a place where we’re not going to have time to get them trained and so forth,” said Singer.
Oklahoma County tells KFOR they are also seeing a huge spike.
They’ve had so much interest they don’t have time to train everybody.
All election officials are hoping these new volunteers stick around.
“They’re going to find out how much they do enjoy being out there and we hope they will stay in the system to work,” said Singer.
Cleveland County still needs workers in south Oklahoma City and Moore.
All counties say if you didn’t get a call back for this election, they could call in the future for help.
If you are interested in signing up to work an election, contact your local county election board.
You must be a registered voter in your county.
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