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Geauga County Board of Elections Surpasses Poll Worker Recruitment Goal

Poll worker during pandemic
John Minchillo
Poll workers must take extra precautions this year to protect themselves against the coronavirus. Election experts fear a massive shortage of workers at the polls in November.

Monday is the last day Ohioans can register to vote in the Nov. 3 general election, and early voting begins Tuesday. Some county boards of elections are still actively recruiting poll workers, but others say they have enough.

The Geauga County Board of Elections needs 471 poll workers. It has 963 people willing to work the polls.

Director Pete Zeigler says the board of election's success stems from its recruitment strategy: It never stops searching.

“The important thing about poll worker recruiting is it’s not a once a year or once every four year thing. It has to be a constant process,” he said.

Zeigler says they did lose some poll workers who were more at risk for COVID-19. However, he is seeing more young people getting involved. Additionally, he says civic engagement is high in the county.

“The best way to recruit poll workers is to keep the ones you have, and we’ve been very blessed in that our poll workers stay on,” he said, adding that he's always working to retain the ones it already has.


“It’s more of a cultural job than a recruiting job. You’re building a culture, and in Geauga County there’s a level of civic engagement that is second to none. People want to be involved,” he said.

Although the Geauga County Board of Elections will not turn away any new applicants, it’s not likely they will be called to work this Election Day.

Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media.