LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – As local counties focus on the coronavirus, officials are also focused on the upcoming elections. They’re making sure there are enough election workers and putting additional health safety measures in place.
News 6 contacted all of the Supervisor of Elections offices across Central Florida. Many said they are still recruiting election workers to make sure they have enough in case some back out because of the pandemic.
Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Chris Anderson said they are fully staffed for the upcoming August 18 primary election. But he said the COVID-19 pandemic made it tough to hire enough election workers.
"It was more of a challenge than it has been in the past," Anderson said.
Election workers are busy before anyone casts a ballot. Some workers are making 80,000 disposable styluses using q-tips so voters don’t have to share them when they check-in at polling places.
Anderson said this is one of the many ways they are keeping staff and voters safe.
“You have to think outside the box, become creative and figure out ways to keep voters safe as they make their choice in the method of voting,” he said.
Anderson said his office has also purchased personal protective equipment and sanitizing products to keep workers safe and polling places clean during the elections.
Even though Anderson said he has enough workers, he is not taking any chances.
“We do have a reserve, alternates is what we call them,” Anderson said. “I actually developed a contingency unit as well just in case we run through those alternates, we can still call up another group of folks and potentially help us.”
Lake County Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays said they are short 100 election workers. He said many of the workers are seniors and they do not want to risk exposure.
Despite the shortage, Hays said he is confident they will fill all of the open positions.
"The people of Lake County have proven time and time and time again that they're going to step up and meet the challenge," Hays said. "I think this will be another one of those times when the people of Lake County find out there's a need, they'll respond and take care of each other."
Orange County election officials said they are always recruiting election workers. The supervisors of elections office placed signs that read "Poll workers needed" near county parks to get more people to apply.
Flagler County elections officials told News 6 they do not have a shortage of election workers.
Osceola County election officials said they have "plenty" of election workers for the August election.
Marion County election officials said they are always recruiting election workers because of constant turnover.
Anderson said election workers are paid. Anyone interested in applying should contact their local supervisor of elections office.