Poll Workers Prepare for Election Day

Monday, Jan 26, 2009  |  Updated 1:53 PM PDT
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Poll Workers Prepare for Election Day

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Election Day is almost here.  And Election officials say they expect a big turnout.  Los Angeles County is putting a minimum of seven  voting booths at every polling place and increasing the number of poll workers in anticipation of the big crowds.

Los Angeles County is the largest election jurisdiction in the nation.  It has 4,394 precincts.  And this year the county is training more than 26,000 poll workers to accommodate the anticipated turnout.

The job of the poll worker has nothing to do with party affiliation or position on ballot measures.  It’s all about making sure every polling place runs smoothly and every ballot counts.
 
The Registrar’s office has been holding training sessions since October 1, several times a day at dozens of different locations throughout Los Angeles County.

At each session instructors teach poll workers how to set up polling places; what to do if problems pop up; how to ensure that voters fill out their ballots correctly; and to make sure all the equipment works.

Some county employees become Election Day poll workers, but the vast majority, more than 17-thousand, are volunteers from the community.

L.A. County Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan calls them the unsung heroes of the election process.

Chenyn Allen, who attended a training session recently in West Hollywood, has been volunteering as a poll worker since she was eligible to vote. 

Seventy-six year old Carol Rosenthal says being a poll worker makes her feel like she’s doing something important.

The county pays poll workers a modest stipend -- about $100, but that’s never been motivation for Rosenthal.  She says she feels she just has to do it.   Rosenthal said her children say at 76 years old it’s time to stop.  She told them, “Okay, this will be my last one.   I’ve been saying that for five years. I just keep coming back.”

Registrar-Recorder Logan says its very satisfying to see so much interest in this election.  “You put all this work into running an election and sometimes very few people show up.  In this case, I think, we’re throwing a party and people are going to come.”

If voter turnout is as big as election officials hope, poll workers will be ready.

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