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Pennsylvania's poll worker recruitment effort drew 1,100 last week

Election 2022 Pennsylvania Senate vote voting ballot mail-in pittsburgh
Keith Srakocic
An election worker continues the process in counting ballots for the Pennsylvania primary election, Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at the Mercer County Elections Board in Mercer, Pa.

Pennsylvania elections officials said Wednesday that a push last week to recruit new poll workers produced more than 1,100 applicants, including at least one in 58 of 67 counties.

The effort tied to Help America Vote Day, organized by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, brought in the most applicants in some of the populous suburbs of Philadelphia — 221 in Montgomery County, 132 in Chester and 91 in Delaware.

Allegheny County, which encompasses Pittsburgh, drew 100 applicants while Philadelphia brought in 47.

In central Pennsylvania, Lancaster received 71 applications, Dauphin 40 and Cumberland 39.

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Poll workers, often older people, are paid to help run elections in some 9,000 polling places across the state, but it has been a challenge to recruit and train sufficient numbers of them during the pandemic. Poll worker shortages predate the pandemic, however, in part because their work can require 14- or 16-hour days.

Lisa Schaefer, executive director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, said the influx of 1,146 new candidates was a welcome boost. Some counties promoted the recruitment drive last week.

“We hope that those who applied maintain their interest and follow through with training and serving on Election Day,” said Schaefer, whose members run the mechanics of elections in each county.

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