Counties actively seek poll workers as Election Day draws near

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Wake County election officials said as many as 700 former poll workers decided they won't be working the polls during the pandemic.

Most cited health concerns and at least a few have told officials they are concerned because the state isn't requiring voters to wear masks.

But the man in charge of recruiting poll workers in Wake County hasn't let that deter his efforts.

"We want to staff more poll workers than we've ever had for any election in the history of Wake County," said Spencer Berg the recruiting coordinator for the Wake County Board of Elections.

He and a colleague gave ABC11 a tour of the election board's massive Raleigh warehouse.

He said despite the health concerns, he has been able to recruit the numbers he needs including Enloe High School rising seniors Robert Bogan Castano.

"It's always an important process to choose who the next president is going to be," Bogan Castano said.

He credits his dad with getting him involved in the Student Election Assistant, which is being implemented statewide to help fill poll worker positions.

He said he did it in part because it's a civics lesson he can get almost nowhere else.

"I was going to get to learn about the process of like how the election works, and that way, when I was able to vote, I would like, know what I was doing," the 17-year-old said.

He is the minimum age to qualify.

As long as teenagers are 17 by November 3, they can apply to be an election worker in their home county anywhere in North Carolina.

Bogen Castano will join thousands of other workers who have agreed to help with Wake's early voting and on election day.

Wake County has a thousand more workers than it needs because it expects that many could drop out in the next three months.

Right now, Wake has 3,500 workers for Election Day and 1,400 for early voting -- filling its quota, but the county is still accepting applications just in case.

The Durham County Board of Elections has 670 for Election Day and still needs at least another 150.

It does have its quota of 384 for early voting.

Orange has also filled its quota of 250 for the general election and 70 workers for early voting.

Like Durham, Cumberland County's Board of Elections still needs more than 150 poll workers for Election Day to make its goal of 750 but has hit its number of 360 for early voting.

If you're interested in working the polls in your county, just remember to leave your political leanings at home.

"There are no politics that are brought into it. So it's a great way to really, to see what goes on to make an election happen and to help your fellow community members vote," Berg said.

There's also a paycheck involved.

Some election workers can earn more than $200 a day even when they're being trained.
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