ELECTIONS

Utah’s three largest counties say they have enough poll workers for Election Day

Oct 17, 2022, 5:08 PM | Updated: Oct 18, 2022, 11:33 am

FARMINGTON, Utah — Utahns should start getting their midterm election ballots in the mail Tuesday, three weeks prior to election day. But many counties and voting precincts across the country are having trouble finding enough poll workers for in-person election locations on Election Day.

Election officials in Utah’s three largest counties said Monday they have the staff they need.

“What we’re doing today is no different than what we’ve been doing for well over a decade,” said Brian McKenzie, chief deputy clerk in Davis County.

Monday morning, McKenzie and the Davis County elections team conducted its pre-election public logic and accuracy test. McKenzie said they’ve used that same test since 2006.

“To make sure that the voting machines that we have gone through and programmed are counting the ballots accurately,” he said.

Open to the public, they run 8,000 test ballots from every precinct in Davis County, which have been marked for every candidate, race and issue.

“It’s an important part of ensuring the security of the system,” McKenzie said. “Before we ever count ballots, we want to make sure that we’ve done everything correctly.”

Brian McKenzie, chief deputy clerk for Davis County, overseeing the test. (KSL-TV)

That’s especially important for the 2022 election, while many Americans still question the validity and security of elections.

According to Power the Polls, which staffs poll workers nationwide, there was a record shortage in 2020, and they cite shortages now. Two years ago, coronavirus cut into the pool of people. This year, in some states, people are fearful of working the polls due to claims the previous election was stolen. But, poll staffing is not a problem in Salt Lake County, Utah County and Davis County.

“We have a number of people that volunteer to be election workers every year,” McKenzie said of the situation in Davis County. “We can’t use all of them. We wish that we could. But, we just have so many people that want to volunteer and participate.”

David County only needs 70 people to staff the six in-person voting locations, he said.

Davis County Poll workers preparing for election day their machines for Election Day (KSL TV)

Roseanne Mitchell, elections Director in Utah County said they also have 70 people to staff six voting centers on Election Day. A decade ago, before mail-in voting became the top choice for most Utahns, every county needed more poll workers.

In 2008, Salt Lake County had 300 election locations and needed 2,000 poll workers, according to Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen. This year, they only need 400 poll workers to staff 42 locations. Vote by mail has dramatically reduced the number of people they need to physically staff the elections. In 2020, with record voter turnout, more than 89% of Salt Lake County voters cast their ballots by mail.

In Davis County, McKenzie said he has 100% confidence in the security of their system.

“If they have questions, they should go to their local county clerk,” he said.

KSL 5 TV Live

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Utah’s three largest counties say they have enough poll workers for Election Day