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County Election Bureaus Short On Poll Workers

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - County election officials from around the area say there could be big problems for the upcoming primary elections.

The issue: not enough poll workers. Election directors and county commissioners across the area say we are in the 11th hour. Their message to the public: you'll get paid, you'll do your part to ensure election security and you are needed right now.

May 18, voters head to the polls for the state's primary election. But unlike the last election where getting election workers was a snap, the staffing numbers for the upcoming vote is a different story altogether.

"overall in this election, it's been difficult," Washington County Board of Elections Director Melanie Ostrander tells KDKA's Ross Guidotti.

Short 10 workers and four election judges, Washington County is hardly alone when it comes to help wanted at the polls.

A look a the poll worker numbers -- or lack thereof -- in Westmoreland County is troublesome. The county election bureau tells Ross Guidotti they have open positions for 50-plus poll workers and 11 judges of elections, leaving a total of 12 precincts short-handed as of now.

So why then are we seeing this? Ostrander says many prior and potential workers have many reasons for saying they can't work election day.

"They can't take the time off work, it being spring, spring vacation, college graduations. Just don't want to, not interested," said Ostrander.

This could mean polls not opening in time, big lines and the most concerning thing: election security and accuracy.

But it's not too late. If you are interested in helping on election day, visit Fayette, Westmoreland, and Allegheny county's election bureaus so you can help. And yes, you will get paid.

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