Next month’s election is drawing the interest of voters, with primary races and a state question on the ballot.
Now, election boards are hoping to get some interest in people working at the polls.
With more voters, there’s a need for more precinct workers. Here in Tulsa, and many counties, there’s already a shortage of people applying for the job.
Tulsa County election board worker Mike Broad is testing out voting machines for the June 26th primary.
It’s a big enough operation just to get everything ready, but when it comes time to vote, the election board needs hundreds of extra hands.
Mike Fritts, a Tulsa County Precinct Worker, says working a precinct is a passion and he’s been at it more than 10 years.
“To me, this is where the strength of our country is and, if we lost that strength, we lose our country,” he said. “That’s why I feel as strongly about it as I do.”
Fritts is one of 786 people, at minimum, needed to pull off a county-wide election in Tulsa County.
The law requires every precinct to have at least three workers.
“Between now and election time, we’ll have some people drop out for health reasons, or what have you, and we don’t have enough to add poll workers like we’d like to,” stated Gwen Freeman, the Tulsa County Election Board Secretary.
The average age of a precinct worker is 75. Most are retired.
The pay doesn’t help recruiting much – it’s less than $100 for each election, but it only takes a half day of paid training to get started.
“We are constantly trying to recruit and, sometime soon, I’d like to see our precinct workers get paid more,” said Freeman.
Fritts says that, for him, the motivation is making sure the election goes smoothly and everyone who wants to vote gets the opportunity.
“It’s a long day, but it’s an interesting and fun day,” he said. “None of us do it for the money.”
Precinct workers have to be 18 and registered to vote. They also have to go through the training in the next month.
There are three more elections coming up this year.