Sioux City poll workers prepare for upcoming election

Local News

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – This week, nearly 200 poll workers in Sioux City are attending multiple training sessions in preparation for the upcoming election, but the structure of the sessions is a bit different this year due to the pandemic.

There’s some new faces in this crowd of poll workers getting trained for the upcoming election.

A.J. Cecil-Starlin is a first time poll worker that is training for Election Day.

“My kids are finally old enough that they are all in school, so I thought that this would be the first year that it would be an option for me,” said Cecil-Starlin.

Her assistance is needed now more than ever as a majority of poll workers tend to be seniors.

“They fall into a high risk category, and so they have chosen not to be available during this election cycle,” said Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill.

In preparation of the upcoming election, Auditor Gill has been hosting two-hour training sessions twice a day at Western Iowa Tech Community College to help prepares these Sioux City poll workers.

“Usually, we do just one where everyone is in the room together, but, because of the pandemic, we are socially distancing and Western Iowa Tech required us to limit the size of the class that can be in here,” said Gill.

“I’m very glad that this place is not packed, as you could see, I have space between me and the person that was sitting in the same row,” said Anne Cowley , a 12-year poll worker.

Cowley is a chairman at Precinct 10. Training is nothing new for this veteran as they revisited topics around opening the polling location, curbside voting, valid ID requirements and new laws around felony voting rights.

“It is our duty, if they want to vote, we give them the opportunity vote and then it’s up to law enforcement if they shouldn’t have voted, it is not our job to deny them the right to vote,” said Cowley.

Although the pandemic has presented some challenges, poll workers are ready to serve the Siouxland community one mask and sanitization wipe at a time.

“We’ll have things on the floor that say social distance and we will try to stay as safe as possible without deny their right to vote, because we want people to vote in this election. It’s very important that people vote in this election,” said Cowley.

Gill said the poll workers will be at 28 polling places. The 27 of those will be in schools and one is in Morningside Library. Gill said they choose the school gyms as as way to practice socially distancing with the high number of voters expected.

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