Allegheny County Prepares For November Election, Plans To Hire Thousands Of Poll Workers

 


On today's program: Allegheny County plans to open all polling locations, recruiting more than 6,500 poll workers for the November election; and two years after the Pennsylvania grand jury report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, some say more changes need to be made. 

Allegheny County gets ready for the November election
(00:00 — 6:06)

Only a fraction of Allegheny County polling places were open for the June primary because of concerns about COVID-19, but the county is planning to open all 1,323 polling places this November. It's currently looking to recruit thousands of new and returning poll workers.

“The ideal number for every precinct is a complement of five poll workers. So we are looking at recruiting 6,500 plus people to work the November 3 election,” says Kevin Evanto, Chief Marketing Officer for Allegheny County.

As of early July, 4,400 people had signed up to work, and Evanto says they hope to hire more. “Our pitch to them is, you know, you can be part of an historic election, you can make democracy happen.”

On Election Day, the county plans to offer poll workers “infection protection kits,” which include a mask, gloves, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and face shields. The county is prepared to replace poll workers who opt out because of the pandemic, but Evanto says they’re “confident that we’ll be able to adequately staff all of our precincts.”

Survivors of abuse “do not feel as if the church hierarchy has really apologized” says Catholics for Change in Our Church
(6:15 — 17:47)

A 2018 statewide grand jury report found that more than 300 priests in six Catholic dioceses across Pennsylvania sexually abused more than 1,000 children. In the last two years, changes have been made in the diocese of Pittsburgh and elsewhere, but some say they’re not enough.

 

“The victims and survivors do not feel as if the church hierarchy has really apologized for the systemic concealment of the abuse,” says Kevin Hayes, president of the board of Catholics for Change in Our Church. “There still has not been an acknowledgement by this diocese, or really the Catholic bishops across the country as an organization, to say ‘We acknowledge the sacred trust that was broken in this abuse, and this abuse has been widespread, and we concealed it from laity for many, many years.’”

The group issued a public statement about the changes made since the grand jury’s findings in 2019. Since then, “A full year has gone by and a lot of change that had been hoped for was not able to happen,” says Gretchen Jezerc, the vice president of the board of Catholics for Change in Our Church.

On August 14, the group will release a progress report exploring issues from healing for sexual abuse survivors to financial transparency of the diocese and a more “active” role for lay leaders in the Church. 

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.