Wake County leaders considers changes to attract poll workers
Posted August 16, 2020 6:44 p.m. EDT
Updated August 17, 2020 11:13 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Because of the pandemic, Wake County election officials are anticipating a big drop off in election workers.
They also fear that voters won't turn out either.
Now, county leaders are hoping to encourage workers and voters to still show up to the polls.
"Locally, COVID-19 has dissuaded a lot of our precinct officials," said Matt Calabria, the Wake County Commissioner.
Leaders are predicting as much as a 37% drop off between those who sign up and those who actually show up to work the polls in November.
"It's really a matter of making sure we're prepared and over-prepared for the upcoming election," said Wake County Board of Elections Director Gay Sims.
To encourage poll workers, Wake County commissioners will vote on a measure Monday that would enable Wake county's 4,000 employees to use their community involvement leave to work the polls as precinct officials or vote in the election.
"Not only are we encouraging our employees to vote and set a good example for other local governments and the entire state, but we are recognizing the need for additional precinct officials in this extraordinary time, and making sure that we are not the barrier to folks getting out and helping out with the election process," said Calabria.
They are also voting to increase pay from $8.68 per hour to $11 per hour.
"We want to make sure we incentivize folks to work our polls and to get out in adequate numbers, so that we can administer the election," said Calabria.
If these changes are approved, county leaders hope it will be enough to ensure 2,400 polls workers show up when they are needed most.