Voting machines. (RI photo)

Election Day is now four weeks away, and Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate says efforts to recruit more poll workers for elections during the pandemic are appearing to pay off.

“We’ve had now a couple of counties that have said, ‘I got enough, you don’t need to send me any more,” he says. Pate says the idea was to protect some of the older workers and have more people available to help out. He says some counties still face some issues — like having a balance of Democrat and Republican workers.

“You get into a county that’s a diehard Republican or diehard Democrat county, now you’ve got to get the other party because we want equal representation. So the auditors really have to hustle hard to make sure that they get that balance, “Pate says.

Pate spoke during a voting machine test with Polk County Elections Director John Chiodo. Polk County has the most residents and Chiodo says the extra poll worker recruiting has helped. “That was one of the nerve-wracking things, especially during COVID is finding people to work — and even now it’s a struggle. I mean, as you all know, businesses are having trouble finding people,” he says.

Pate says the general elections coming up are big — but there are other elections throughout the year where they need workers.
“You can’t expect the same poll workers to come to every one of these for you. We tried to provide consistency and all the training. So there’s a lot of templates we put out from our office. And what I how I look at it is our Office plays the role of being a coach. The players are right,” according to Pate.

Pate says you can help by thinking ahead before election day. “I encourage you to have a plan. It’s not a complicated process, but have a voting plan. And it’s as basic as is my voter registration up to date. Maybe I haven’t registered yet. Do I know where my voting precinct is? Do I know what the polling hours are? Am I gonna vote absentee? So there’s some deadlines for that,” Pate says. “I mean, I love our postal folks — but we don’t have overnight delivery. So you don’t want to be pushing your luck and getting those ballots in and not getting counted.” He says if the auditor doesn’t have your ballot on election day it won’t be counted.

You can track your absentee ballot on the Secretary of State’s website.

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