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“We struggled with this”: Worker shortage causes voting center to close

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 8:59 PM CDT
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WALDENBURG, Ark. (KAIT) - The struggle continues to attract poll workers across the nation including here in Region 8.

A Poinsett County voting center closed due to the lack of poll workers, a problem the county election commission chair Sandy Teague says is growing.

On the doors of Waldenburg City Hall on Friday was a notice with an emergency declaration:

“The Poinsett County Election Commission declared that, due to a lack of poll workers, an emergency situation exists and the vote center located at Waldenburg City Hall (5545 Hwy 14E), will be closed permanently!”

“We’ve always had favorable people to help us work these elections, but this year we’ve had a struggle,” Teague said.

She said the commission offered a number of classes for people to become certified and start working at the polls, but no one showed up.

Teague said they even made phone calls, sent emails, and posted on social media.

“Reached out to some people to say ‘I’ve got to have some workers for your polling site’, we didn’t get anybody,” she said.

Poll workers are required at all vote centers and sites.

In 2020, according to election records, 61 people voted in Waldenburg. The center there needed at least four poll workers, but they came up short.

“We needed four people to keep this site open and we had one. Just three people. Just three,” Teague said.

After much discussion, the commission voted to close the center.

“We want everybody to vote. We never want to close a polling site or polling center,” Teague said. “That is not what the election commissioners want to happen. We struggled with this.”

She said they are working to certify more people so they won’t run into this issue anywhere else in the county.

Voters in Waldenburg can vote at any voting center in Poinsett County such as Weiner and Harrisburg.

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