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With Early Voting Starting Tuesday, Ohio Is Close To Reaching Poll Worker Goals

Registered Nurse Janice Tatonetti, right, takes the temperature of Harry Pearson before he votes in Ohio's primary election at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak
/
Associated Press
Registered Nurse Janice Tatonetti, right, takes the temperature of Harry Pearson before he votes in Ohio's primary election at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Cleveland.

Ohio’s voting precincts normally need 37,000 poll workers on Election Day, but even more are needed this year during the pandemic.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose says he’s told local boards of elections to recruit 50% more precinct workers they normally need for a presidential election – at least 55,000 people. And it’s not just because of higher-than-expected turnout.

“If there’s a resurgence in the virus and something else occurs that causes people to not want to work, we need to have that reserved force, trained and ready to go," LaRose says.

LaRose says most counties are close to meeting their poll worker goals. Some businesses, including The Ohio State University, are incentivizing employees to sign up as poll workers by lifting the requirement they take vacation time.

It’s unclear how many Ohioans will actually show up at the polls this fall. While Ohio closed all polling places in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the general election will see the return of normal in-person voting, as well as the addition of curbside voting.

More than 2 million voters have already requested absentee ballots for early voting, which starts Tuesday, October 6. Voters can send their absentee ballots through the mail, drop them off at the secure ballot drop box at the county board of elections, or vote early in-person through Monday, November 2.