Poll workers for Aug. 8 special election are still needed in many Ohio counties
If you're not busy Aug. 8, chances are good that your local board of elections might need your help. That's Election Day for the special election to decide Issue 1, which would make it harder to pass future constitutional amendments by requiring 60% voter approval.
With early voting underway and a little over two weeks until Election Day, fewer than half of Ohio's 88 counties are fully staffed with poll workers. The Secretary of State's office reports 32 counties are at "full recruitment." Another 18 are at the minimum level of poll workers needed, and 38 counties have not been able to recruit the minimum number needed.
More than 28,000 Ohioans have signed up as poll workers. Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose had set a goal of 31,811 poll workers for Election Day — enough to cover illness, emergency call-outs and other last-minute changes.
The executive director of the Ohio Association of Elections Officials knew there might be problems getting poll workers for an August election. And Aaron Ockerman said Republican lawmakers who decided to put a proposed constitutional amendment change on the ballot in May knew it, too.
"We knew that when the legislature was thinking about doing an August election that it would be difficult and we kind of shared that information with them. But we will struggle through. We are doing a pretty good job, all in all," he said.
The Ohio Association of Elections Officials officially opposed the Aug. 8 special election because of staffing, among other concerns. Most August special elections were eliminated in a Republican-backed law passed late last year, but the Ohio Supreme Court ruled it didn't apply to state lawmakers calling an election for this constitutional amendment.
Ockerman said the last resort would be to consolidate or shift polling places due to poll worker shortages but, he added he is hopeful it won't get to that point.
"Failure is not really an option for us. We just have to make sure we are fully staffed and ready to go," Ockerman said.
The 32 counties at full recruitment are: Adams, Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Belmont, Brown, Cuyahoga, Darke, Fairfield, Gallia, Geauga, Hardin, Henry, Hocking, Holmes, Lawrence, Logan, Medina, Mercer, Morgan, Morrow, Perry, Pickaway, Portage, Preble, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Tuscarawas, Union, Vinton, and Wyandot.