SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Margaret “Margie” Fitch has been involved in local elections as a poll worker for four years, and is one of the dozens of workers gearing up for the general election this November.
“It’s an excellent job for people who are retired. It’s not hard, it’s not physical work–it’s just, you’re there all day,” Fitch said.
Woodbury County has met the minimum number of poll workers to fill all 44 polling locations within the county.
“We’d like to have around 240, but we have about 180 that are recruited so far,” Commissioner of Elections Pat Gill said.
However, there is a growing concern for the health and safety of senior poll workers amid COVID-19. Although Gill is seeing more young people initially reaching out to help, his office keeps running into a huge problem.
“The unfortunate thing is that when they’re contacting us, they find out that it’s a little bit more than they expected, and they’re not going to be available to help,” Gill said.
To protect all poll workers, Gill says masks will be distributed at all polling locations within Sioux City Community School District Buildings. Additional PPE will also be given out in more rural polling places–some of the same protocols used during the primaries last June.
“Only so many people are allowed in the room. We give them gloves, a mask, and hand sanitizer, and you sit behind a shield,” Fitch said.
Gill says his office is working to give voters as many options safely, adding voting early will help take some of that pressure off those workers.
“If the secretary of state’s numbers are correct–that 80 percent of the people are going to vote early–that we will have enough staff to handle the people that are going to vote on election day,” Gill said.
For Margie, she’s not concerned for her own health, adding she believes the county is putting the health and safety of their poll workers and voters first.
“Just get out and vote–and vote with your heart. That’s it!” Fitch said.