Comanche County Election Board Secretary Amy Sims reached out across the county looking for 200 poll workers for today’s primary election and was unable to find extra workers to assist with voting and cleaning polling areas.
The election board is expecting polling to run smoothly even though efforts to beef up staff at the 38 voting precincts produced lackluster results.
The board was seeking additional workers, not only to help clean polling areas but to also replace or augment senior citizen workers, who are some of the most vulnerable when it comes to COVID-19 susceptibility. Sims attributes COVID-19 concerns to the low turnout.
“Out of 53,000 people in the county, I couldn’t get 200 people,” she said. “I had an 85-year-old woman who usually volunteers tell me it was just too dangerous now.”
Volunteers range in age from 26 to over 76 years old, with the majority of workers falling between 66-75. However, all precincts will be fully staffed.
As far as voting, Sims says the board has sent out 2,121 absentee ballots compared to 2018 with 1,392 ballots sent. She has also seen an uptick in voter registration with 56,370 voters registered as of June 1, compared to 53,244 in 2018.
All polling workers will be wearing masks and each precinct has been issued kits containing personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies. Although masks are not required for voters, voting officials request that everyone wear them and practice social distancing while at polling locations.
Sims also reminded voters that they will need an I.D. to vote. Approved forms of identification include voter registration cards, state or federally issued I.D.s and concealed carry license. Voters showing up without an I.D. will be given a provisional ballot which will then need to be researched by Sims and her team before it can be counted.
Sims also recommends a healthy dose of patience.
“Just be patient,” she said. “These people (at polling locations) are doing this for you and they’re just as nervous and scared as everyone else.”