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Poll workers: the ‘A Team’ on Election Day

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FLLewis/A Writer’s Groove

A poll worker guides a voter through the initial stages of voting, at a polling place in a Burbank neighborhood, during last February’s presidential primary.

They are front and center at every polling place on Election Day. A volunteer army of poll workers. The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder /County Clerk’s office reportedly has recruited and trained over 26 thousand poll workers for today’s Presidential General Election.

I worked as a trainer for Los Angeles County poll workers back in the fall of 2005, for the Special Statewide And Consolidated Elections. I found the poll workers to be the best part of my job as a trainer. Most were enthusiastic, eager to learn, and concerned about getting the voting procedures right. Sure, I came across a few bad-attitude poll workers, but they were easy to dismiss and not the norm.

For today’s election, Los Angeles County poll workers will be processing voters at 4,394 polling locations. There are over 4.3 million registered voters here, making Los Angeles County the largest voting district in the nation. So orchestrating this election is no small or simple operation.

There have been problems at elections in the past, but Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk officials insist they are ready this time with enough supplies and contingency plans to handle today’s expected record turnout.

Thousands of people stood in long lines to vote early at the registrar’s office in Norwalk. Election officials say they’ve received around 625,000 ballots from mail-in and early voting. That might cut down on the voter traffic at a few polling places. Still, it’s going to be a long hectic day for poll workers.

The polls are open here from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, Dean Logan, suggested in a recent press release that, “Voters with flexible schedules might want to visit their polling places between 9 and 11 a.m. or from 1 to 4 p.m.” National trends reportedly show voting surges at polling places soon after opening and from around 5 p.m. to closing at 8 p.m.

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