Bristol needs poll workers for General Election

COVID thins ranks of experienced poll workers, as about 75% don’t return

Posted 9/17/20

It’s a long day but a short-term commitment, and the election couldn’t happen without them.

“The town requires about 100 people for this task,” said Town Clerk Lou Cirillo …

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Bristol needs poll workers for General Election

COVID thins ranks of experienced poll workers, as about 75% don’t return

Posted

It’s a long day but a short-term commitment, and the election couldn’t happen without them.

“The town requires about 100 people for this task,” said Town Clerk Lou Cirillo of poll workers, who have often been some of the same familiar faces year after year. This year, of course, is different.

“Too many of our usual workers are high-risk” for COVID. “We’ve lost about 75 percent of them. It’s tough.”

“We needed about 50 people for the Primary, and we had to borrow some from Warren and Barrington,” said Mr. Cirillo (those communities did not have a primary election this year.) “But we have to return them for the General Election.” In 2018, a non-presidential, pre-COVID year, the town needed 86 people to staff the polls.

It’s hard to know exactly how many people Bristol will need to staff all the town’s polling locations. Certainly, the dramatic increase in mail balloting will alleviate some of that pressure, though social distancing and other precautions will increase it. At press time, all polling precincts are expected to be open, but three locations, including the Veterans’ Home, Roger Williams University, and the Burnside Building, were changed for the primary for COVID-related logistical reasons. (A complete list of precincts will be published prior to the election.)

Mr. Cirillo asks anyone who is able and willing to please apply. All locations will be supplied with plenty of PPE, sanitizer, and barriers for people who will be face-to-face with voters.

For certain jobs, poll workers must be registered to vote in Rhode Island, but not for all. There are two stipend grades. Moderators and clerks, who are responsible for running operations, will receive $175 per day, while others, responsible for tasks like greeting and line management, will receive $155. Everyone is given lunch and dinner. The hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and there is not shift work available, as consistency is important.

To apply, contact Mr. Cirillo at Town Hall, 401/253-7000, or email him at lpcirillo@bristolri.gov.

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