(Posted Oct. 27, 2020)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
With nearly twice as many poll workers in place compared to the last general election, the Madison County Board of Elections (BOE) is geared up for Election Day on Nov. 3.
Last November, 98 poll workers manned Madison County’s six voting locations. This year, the BOE trained 190 poll workers in anticipation of a large voter turnout and to help with cleaning and safety protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are excited that this many people were interested in working,” said Abby Metheney, BOE director. “Poll workers are essential to keeping elections in Madison County safe and secure.”
Metheney credits a multi-pronged recruiting effort for the community’s increased interest in working the polls. For the first time, the county instituted Day for Democracy, which allows county employees to work the polls without taking a vacation day. The BOE distributed drink coasters at area bars and restaurants with information about signing up. Many attorneys, social workers and accountants took advantage of the opportunity to earn continuing education credits with their respective associations in exchange for working the polls.
“The Secretary of State’s Office had a big push, too,” Metheney said. “There were so many different avenues we explored and the state explored. It was a concentrated effort countywide and statewide.”
At 190 poll workers, Madison County’s roster is full, however the BOE is continuing to take the names of anyone interested in being backup poll workers in case of cancellations.
“We would like to thank everyone who has shown interest. We couldn’t do this without them,” Metheney said.
In addition to beefing up its poll worker staffing, the BOE hired four additional part-time, seasonal staffers to help with high voter turnout at its in-person early voting center. The BOE’s hours for in-person early voting are posted on the home page of its website at www.boe.ohio.gov/madison/. The last day for early voting is Nov. 2.
COVID-19 safety measures
For Election Day, the BOE has instituted several safety measures related to the pandemic, including one-use pens for voting, no-touch hand sanitizer stations, and sneeze guards between the poll workers and the public.
“We are asking everyone to wear a mask for the poll workers’ safety, their safety, and the safety of other voters,” Metheney said, noting the BOE will have masks available for anyone who does not have their own.
Poll workers will wipe down tables regularly throughout the day, as well as conduct temperature checks on each voter entering the polling location.
Anyone not wearing a mask or whose temperature is high will be directed to the BOE’s curbside service to vote. Curbside service will be available at all polling locations.
New ballot box
The BOE installed a ballot box outside the front door of its main office at 1423 State Route 38 SE, London. Voters can drop completed absentee ballots and completed applications for absentee ballots in the box. Completed ballots can be dropped in the box up until the polls close at 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
“The box is checked multiple times a day by a bipartisan team, and it is under 24-hour surveillance,” Metheney said.
Anyone with questions about the election can call the BOE at (740) 852-9424.