FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Older poll workers are not volunteering as much as they usually would out of fear of catching COVID-19.
Governor Asa Hutchinson recently issued an executive order that voters and poll workers don’t have to wear masks at the polls.
David Becker, Executive Director and Founder of the Center for Election Innovation and
Research, said there’s normally over a million poll workers in a presidential election.
“But the vast majority of them are over the age of 60,” Becker said. “And of course, in a
pandemic, those people are more at risk and they probably shouldn’t be working at the polls.
Jennifer Price, Washington County Executive Director, said there are still many safety measures
in place to keep people safe.
“We will be providing masks for all of our poll workers, as well as face shields and gloves for
our poll workers,” Price said. “We will have some extra masks at the polling location when the
voters come in. If a voter requests the mask, but those would be a limited number.”
Price believes there will be an increase in absentee ballots, but anticipates they will still have a
large number of voters in person during early voting and on election day.
Bonnie Miller, President of the League of Women Voters in Washington County, hopes people
will take advantage of voting by absentee ballot if they are unsure about heading to the polls.
“The leaders we elect to make decisions that affect our daily lives, elections are our chance to
stand up for what matters most to us, our families, to our communities, and that’s how we have
an impact on issues that directly affect us,” Miller said.
Voting officials recommend the absentee ballots be sent back by October 20.