Urgent call for pollworkers in Alameda County

Alameda County Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald has issued an urgent call for folks willing to work the polls on Tuesday.The county has had a surge of cancellations among its poll-worker recruits.

Here’s the county’s press release:


OAKLAND – A surge of cancellations among poll-worker recruits is prompting Alameda County officials to issue an urgent call for assistance in staffing Tuesday’s Primary Election at polling places across the county.

The county is in particular need of people with automobiles who would be willing to be in charge of a polling place.

Alameda County elections officials were feeling a sense of relief earlier this week when it appeared they had accomplished the daunting task of recruiting about 4,000 poll workers to staff the 830 polling places that will be in operation across the county on Election Day.

But recruiters were met with some discouraging news at the end of the week, when an estimated 150 recruits canceled plans for polling place duties on Election Day. The cancellations mean Alameda County needs more people registered to vote in California to step up and help on Tuesday.

The need for adequate staffing is especially great this election because Alameda County is moving back to paper ballots as the primary vehicle for voting on Election Day, after five years of emphasizing electronic touch-screen voting machines in polling places.

The arrangement Tuesday calls for staff at each polling place to organize stacks of paper ballots when the polls close at 8 p.m. and to deliver them to officials who will bring them to a central vote-counting center in downtown Oakland.

A staff of about 90 workers at the vote-counting center will work deep into Wednesday morning, feeding thousands of ballots one-by-one into optical scanning machines. This vote-counting method is expected to be relatively slow, meaning that the county’s unofficial final results may not be ready until noon on Wednesday.

“We are planning an extraordinary effort to make sure our ballots are counted accurately and efficiently on Election Night,’’ said Dave Macdonald, Alameda County’s Acting Registrar of Voters. “But for that effort to get off to a good start, it is essential that our polling places are sufficiently staffed.’’

Poll workers must be registered to vote in California. They are paid between $95 and $170 for a day’s work.

Anyone interested in being a poll worker should call the Registrar of Voters at (510) 272-6971. Phones will be staffed between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.