EDITORIAL: September 1 is National Poll Worker Recruitment Day!
By Jennifer J. Edwards, Collier County Supervisor of Elections
It takes hundreds of election workers to help Collier County voters exercise their right to vote and while recruiting individuals to work at the polls can be challenging in normal times, having to recruit volunteers in the midst of a health crisis has greatly added to the task.
During the 2020 Election Cycle, election workers will not only be dedicating their time on November 3 – an anticipated 14-hour day, but they will also be required to attend hours of training and many will be serving during the 13-day early voting period. Some election volunteers will commit to more than 160 hours in service to our community by working at the polls in this upcoming election.
Training for election workers is mandatory prior to each election and depending on their position, volunteers will go through an online training session followed by a two-to-three hour hands-on training course.
The online training provides a foundation for the voting process. The items covered include an overview of the election, the positions and responsibilities of election workers, key information on Florida election law and interacting with voters. Once the online training is complete, election workers then register for a hands-on training class. This two-to-three hour session takes place with our training staff and is required prior to each election and includes opening and closing of the polls, troubleshooting our equipment along with some role playing to help workers understand what they may encounter during the voting process.
When accounting for the training and the long hours served at the polls, these volunteers are not participating for the money, but rather because they believe in our right to vote and want to ensure a smooth voting process for our citizens. These civic-minded individuals have answered the call in our time of need and we cannot run elections without them.
With this, I want to take the time to thank everyone who has served in the past and has committed to serving at the polls during the General Election. Your hard work to help our community engage in voting has not gone unnoticed.
To our voters planning to vote in person, I ask that you please be patient and kind with our volunteers when you vote at the polls. If not for them, you would not have the ability to cast your ballot in-person.
September 1 is National Poll Worker Recruitment Day so we are asking our community to do something patriotic by applying to be a poll worker. We are also encouraging our voters to thank their local poll workers when they cast their ballot in the General Election.