Millions of Americans are showing up to vote early in this year’s election; but as this pandemic has led to that unprecedented number of voters, it has also caused a challenge – a lack of poll workers in some parts of the country.

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NEWS 4 (WIVB-TV says) COVID-19 has in places across the country has created a shortage of volunteers.The majority of polling volunteers are seniors, meaning they’re more at risk of severe illness if they test positive for the coronavirus. Some places have been forced to cut down on their number of election sites to make up for the loss of volunteers.

But in Western New York, just the opposite appears to be happening as hundreds of people have stepped up to volunteer.

“We didn’t do much recruitment – we didn’t need to,” said Chautauqua County Republican Election Commissioner Brian Abram. “It just seemed like people thought, ‘you know they need help and I’m willing to step up and do my part.’ So we’ve been very fortunate with the civic-minded individuals.”

Erie County Democratic Election Commissioner Jeremy Zellner reports a surge of election inspector requests from people who have never done it before.

Beth Carey from Colden is 72 and grew up seeing her mother and aunt volunteer as poll workers every year.

“I thought, well, if they have a lot of volunteers or new people signing up it could make the process go a little better,” she said. “Even at 72-years-old, I’m willing to spend a very long day in a mask to make sure that the day goes well for everyone.”


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