UPDATE (MAY 27, 2020 5:35 p.m.):
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Preparations for in-person voting during early voting and on Election Day are being finalized by all 55 West Virginia county clerks.
This is according to a press release from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office, which stated that counties are amassing the necessary poll workers and alternates for Election Day. County clerks in some counties continue to work to fill several positions vacated by veteran poll workers who are not returning because they are more susceptible to the coronavirus, the release stated.
In an interview, Secretary Warner said West Virginia learned a lot from Florida’s recent primary elections. He said Florida saw a lot of their poll workers who were senior citizens and veteran poll workers choose not to work the election because of health concerns.
We want veteran poll workers who are concerned about COVID-19 to know that other generations of West Virginians are ready to jump in.”We are recruiting alternate poll workers statewide to stand by in the case that others may sit this one out. We hope our veterans will return for the November General Election.Mac Warner – WV Secretary of State
Poll workers are paid for completing a training class and working on Election Day, the release stated. Voters interested in working as poll workers can contact their county clerk’s office to find out the details.
Furthermore, Warner said, they are integral to the voting process because they are from both major parties, they help answer questions and help make sure every vote is made without outside influences affecting them while they try to vote.
Warner said Gov. Justice has relaxed requirements for the upcoming election by only requiring as three poll workers at each precinct rather than five normally, which is the normal requirement. However, he said, there is a strong need for alternates who can take the place of someone who gets sick or cannot work the polls on election day for whatever reason.
“We’re asking registered voters to step up and help out,” Warner said. “This is a unique election and a unique opportunity for those interested in our democracy to serve as a poll worker. We hope to have sufficient poll workers for Election Day, which means you may not get selected, but if duty calls we need to know you are there to jump in.”
Warner compared the need for the public to step up to become poll workers to the call to action during previous wars when brave Americans stepped up to serve their nation. He said just as Americans did during the Korea, Vietnam and World Wars, Americans must now step up to face the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is an hour of need for our nation, this coronavirus has thrown challenges at us in a whole number of ways and elections is one of them,” Warner said. “Our democratic form of government relies on free, fair, clean elections, so if somebody steps up at this hour of need they’re doing their part, their civic duty to our state, to our form of government. Let’s keep democracy alive, let’s have clean, fair elections, so that we’re all comfortable in the people who are elected.”
The Secretary of state said he tips his hat and salutes to any brave West Virginians who step up to become poll workers this election year.
The Primary Election is scheduled for Tuesday, June 9, which is a state holiday in West Virginia, the release stated. Warner said in the release that he hopes registered voters who may be off from work that day will consider becoming a poll worker.