Poll workers still needed for Tuesday’s special congressional election

The six boards of elections in Ohio’s 8th Congressional District say they have enough poll workers to conduct Tuesday’s special congressional election — barring no workers drop out — they say they could always use more.

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It takes a couple thousand poll workers district-wide to run the election, which will see Republican Warren Davidson, Democrat Corey Foister and Green Party candidate Jim Condit, Jr. compete for the congressional seat once held by former Speaker of the House John Boehner.

Boehner retired from Congress in October, and it’s the first time in 25 years an incumbent is not seeking re-election. This election will decide who will fill the remaining months on the term.

The boards of election in Butler, Clark, Darke, Mercer, Miami and Preble counties have enough to conduct the election, which is if none drop due to a variety of reasons. Election officials in the district say their poll workers tend to block out the elections on the calendar, but the June 7 special election — added by Ohio Gov. John Kasich — is not one of them.

Butler County Board of Elections Deputy Director Jocelyn Bucaro said the county could use about 50 to 100 more workers, most needed are Democrats in Middletown, Edgewood and Oxford. The county is the largest in the district, and it typically has 1,500 — which includes the needed 1,134 poll workers to work the 289 precincts. Butler County has just under 1,300 as of Tuesday.

“It’s been a struggle. It’s a difficult time of year. People have been on vacation, they’re thinking about graduation,” she said. “It’s not an election that’s on anybody’s radar.”

Clark County Board of Elections Director Jason Baker said though they have enough, “we do like to have some extra (workers).”

Between 340 and 350 poll workers are used for the election, and Baker said the county likes to have 10 to 15 backup poll workers from each of the two major political parties. Currently they have three to four from each party.

“You got to do what you got to do to get the positions filled,” he said.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said working on elections is “the front door of democracy.”

“(On Monday), we celebrated Memorial Day, which was a celebration of people that paid the ultimate sacrifice. This is one small thing to honor them. One small form of patriotism,” he said.

Husted said the March 15 special congressional primary held on the state’s normal primary election date, received a lot of attention, and it didn’t register with some voters that was only to select a partisan nominee.

Because people aren’t as aware of this special election on Tuesday, voter turnout is projected to be low. Husted’s office doesn’t provide projections, but an informal survey of each of the boards of election in the district showed voter turnout could be 12 to 15 percent.

And in low voter turnout elections, Husted said, “Strange things can happen.”

With the anticipated low voter turnout, a person’s vote has a greater impact. While it’s unknown if this election will be close or not, Husted said in the past three years, 108 elections in Ohio have been decided by a single vote or were tied.

“You can’t assume anything when you have low voter turnout,” he said. “When you have low voter turnout, your vote is more important. You have a bigger impact.”

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