Hundreds of people will be at work Tuesday across Delta Township and Eaton County to run the election.
Their work includes issuing ballots to registered voters, monitoring the voting equipment, explaining how to mark the ballot or use the voting equipment and counting votes.
In the 2016 election, local election officials operated 116,990 polling places across the country. These sites were operated by 917,694 poll workers, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
In Michigan, local city and township election officials appoint their own election inspectors, Eaton County Clerk Diana Bosworth said. For any city or township with a population under 10,000, the county clerk is required to provide training of the election inspectors. Any city or any township with 10,000 or more people may conduct its own training for the inspectors. Delta Township appoints and trains its own election inspectors, Bosworth said.
“We are in good shape with just under 500 trained inspectors countywide,” Bosworth said. “Most inspectors return for many election cycles.”
Delta Township is scheduling close to 200 workers for Election Day throughout 16 precincts in the township, Delta Township Clerk Mary Clark said.
“I staff heavy for big elections because it helps with crowd control,” Clark said. “I have workers keeping an eye out for open booths because there will likely be large lines.”
Each precinct must have at least three workers. Most precincts usually have at least seven, Bosworth said.
Nationally, election officials in 2016 reported various levels of difficulty in getting poll workers. Almost 65 percent of jurisdictions reported that it was either “very difficult” or “somewhat difficult” to get poll workers, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission said.
Respondents to the commission’s survey in 2016 reported the age data for about 53 percent of poll workers. Of the 53 percent of poll workers, 24 percent were aged 71 and older and another 32 percent were between the ages of 61 and 70. Only 18 percent of poll workers in 2016 were reported to be the ages of 40 or younger and under.
Clark said she sees similar issues as other election officials across the country.
“My biggest challenge is to get younger people getting to work,” Clark said. “Younger people who are more savvy on the computer.”
Delta Township always advertises for new election workers in each quarterly Delta Magazine as well as on its website and on social media, Clark said.
The state Bureau of Elections recommends many avenues of recruitment Bosworth said. That might include recruiting at clubs and organizations, via newspaper, radio, public access or cable, and targeting college and high school students and retirees,.
“I can always use more,” Clark said.