Press Releases / 05.22.19

Reduction in Poll Workers May Lead to Problems for Voters, All Voting is Local Says

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2019

COLUMBUS–Today, Mike Brickner, Ohio State Director for All Voting is Local, appeared before the Ohio House of Representatives State and Local Government Committee to testify in opposition of Senate Bill 22, a measure that would allow boards of elections to reduce the minimum number of poll workers at polling locations.

“Poll workers are the backbone of our democracy,” Brickner said. “Reducing the minimum number of poll workers could lead to a resurgence of long lines and voter frustration, pushing Ohio backward. Long lines to the polls are a major obstacle to a free, fair election system. To ensure every eligible voter can access the ballot, polling places must be staffed with ample trained poll workers.”

In his testimony, Brickner emphasized that a reduction in the number of Election Day workers is of particular concern as counties are unveiling new voting technology in 2019 and 2020, with expected strong voter turnout in 2020. New technology and increased participation could often necessitate more poll workers, not fewer.

The testimony offers recommendations to remove barriers to the ballot and ensure that all polling places are sufficiently staffed with trained poll workers. Among them:

  • Proactively affirm in state law that voters should not wait longer than 30 minutes to cast a ballot, and provide mechanisms in Ohio law to require elections officials to address problems if voters wait longer than 30 minutes.
  • Require unanimous consent of all board of elections members in order to reduce the number of poll workers.
  • Require poll workers to receive intensive training on how to operate and troubleshoot accessible voting technology, in order to ensure voters with disabilities are able to autonomously and conveniently cast their ballot.

Brickner’s full testimony can be found here.

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All Voting is Local fights for the right to vote through a unique combination of data-driven organizing, advocacy and communications. It is a collaborative campaign housed at The Leadership Conference Education Fund, in conjunction with Access Democracy; the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation; the American Constitution Society; the Campaign Legal Center; and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.