You’ve seen them. They check your name and voter registration when you arrive at your polling place, provide you with the correct ballot and hand you an “I Voted” sticker when you’re done. They’re poll workers: volunteers recruited and trained by county and local election officials to do the tough work of keeping our elections running.
States are facing a shortage of thousands of poll workers as older volunteers at higher risk for coronavirus complications cancel plans to work on Election Day.
The numbers are staggering. Maryland announced in late July that it was short nearly 14,000 Election Day workers — prompting Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to consolidate precincts into voting centers, in part to reduce the number of people needed.