Improving economy blamed for poll worker shortage

Updated:

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. —

Elections officials in Gwinnett County said they do not have enough workers to man the polls for the upcoming primary.
               
The elections director said she believes there's a shortage because the economy is improving.
 
As Kay Salmon headed in to vote early in Lawrenceville, she was easily outnumbered by the poll workers waiting to help. But that won’t likely be the case when voters go to the polls May 20 to vote for everything from council races to candidates for governor and senate.
 
“We've had a little bit of a shortage compared to past years,” said Gwinnett County Elections Director Lynn Ledford.
 
Gwinnett is still struggling to find enough people to work its 156 polling sites. At least 100 more workers are needed.
 
“I think a lot of it has to do with the economy. It's starting to come back a little bit so the people we've had previously can no longer work becuase they are working,” Ledford said.
 
Cobb and other counties are looking for workers too. On Election Day, poll workers do everything from checking in voters and handing out those popular “I voted stickers,” to collecting and county absentee ballots.
 
“I travel so I wanted to make sure I get in before just in case,” Salmon said.
 
In Gwinnett, the job pays between $75 and $300 for the day, depending on the task and requires online computer training ahead of time.
 
“It just seems this year we weren't able to recruit as many initially  as we had so that's why we had a bit of a sharper drop off,” Ledford said.
 
Another possible reason the elections director said that poll workers are harder to come by. Georgia just moved up its primary date to May and Ledford wonders if some usual workers are tied up with family and school year obligations.