Lake County facing shortage of poll workers

Lake County’s elections supervisor says there is a shortage of poll workers. It takes about 900 workers to run the polls. Right now, the county is down about 350.

“We’re looking for a smooth election,” Lake County Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays said. “It will be different.”

Coronavirus is causing poll workers in Lake County to sit this election out.

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“The overwhelming majority of them are north of 60 years old, and they’re right in the highly susceptible age group,” Hays said.

Hays has contacted the state to see what he can do to fix this. He is also checking to see if polling places can be consolidated.

“If we don’t have proper staffing, there are going to be long lines, and we’re going to try to avoid that,” Hays said. “That’s the big central theme that we’re asking for is to give us that flexibility to tailor Election Day and early voting sites for our particular population.”

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He is anticipating an increase in vote-by-mail ballots and has made extra room in his office to accommodate that. Hays said he has also stocked up on personal protection equipment, including masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer.

“Things that were normally never associated with elections, but it’s a part of reality now,” Hays said.

He is encouraging voters to take advantage of early voting.

“We’re encouraging people who want to vote in-person to utilize the early voting sites, preferably at off-peak times, early mornings, mid-afternoons,” Hays said.

Voting by mail for the general election starts October 1. Early voting begins on October 19.

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