Some Illinois counties are facing dire shortages of election workers ahead of early voting, prompting increased pay for poll workers and ramped-up recruitment of volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With early voting beginning Oct. 19, election officials anticipate many poll workers dropping out if there’s a coronavirus resurgence in the fall. In addition to implementing higher wages and new virtual outreach methods, city and suburban authorities have shifted from enrolling older voters as judges to trying to recruit younger populations who are less vulnerable to the virus.
But even with new initiatives, success has varied from county to county.
“Response has been a little weak, frankly, and that seems to be consistent among my peers as well,” said Joseph Tirio, the McHenry County clerk. “Even if you’re not part of the most susceptible group (for COVID-19), people are still concerned.”