COVID-19 causing shortage of poll workers

News

CAMERON COUNTY, Texas (KVEO) — The countdown until the presidential election continues with a little over 80-days until we head to the polls to cast our vote.

But there is a problem. Older elections workers are staying home out of fear of COVID-19.

“We expect this November to be one of the highest turnout elections in Cameron County history,” said Remi Garza. “This could be the first time that we see over 50% of registered voters in Cameron County vote which would put us over 100,000 people going to the polls.”

Garza is Cameron County’s Election Administrator and said in many ways this election season is like no other.

“We do have long ballots and there are a lot of jurisdictions that are holding elections this year because of the postponement,” Garza said.

COVID-19 has killed more than 164,000 Americans, the majority of which are older citizens. As a precaution, some patriotic seniors are choosing to stay home this election season.

“We did have some people who’ve worked with us over many years decline to work this past July runoff but not a very large portion. It was maybe a handful, six or seven, that just didn’t feel safe working,” Garza said.

Polling locations are taking precautions. Stations are equipped with masks, voting dividers and hand sanitizer. Garza said there has been younger people stepping up in the county but there is a need for more staff this election to help people who opt to vote curbside.

“We normally have four people working at a poll unless it’s a large precinct where we would do six or eight. This year we’re definitely going to have to have a base of six clerks at each polling location,” Garza said. “We would have to consider either moving personnel around on election day or we would have to talk about possibly consolidating polling locations.”

Garza urges residents to take advantage of early voting and if you qualify vote by mail.

To become an election clerk, Click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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