Monday, March 27, 2023

Play

Mobilizing Georgia voters in a non-election year is crucial for voting rights groups, Philadelphians over 50 will play a major role in the mayoral primary, and the EPA is finalizing a new air quality rule.

Play

Michigan becomes the first state in decades to repeal a "right to work" law, death penalty opponents say President Biden is not keeping campaign promises to halt federal executions, and more states move to weaken child labor protection laws.

Play

Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Wanted: Poll Workers in Idaho for November's Unprecedented Election

Play

Monday, July 27, 2020   

BOISE, Idaho -- With the highest turnout for primaries in 40 years, Idaho's unique all-absentee election in May presented a challenge for the state.

The Idaho Secretary of State's office says it plans to run this November's event more like past elections -- if counties can find enough poll workers.

The search is complicated by the fact that poll workers tend to be older and more susceptible to COVID-19.

Danielle Root, associate director of voting rights and access to justice for the Center for American Progress, says failing to find election workers would be a threat to the safety and effectiveness of the state's voting system.

"If we do not have enough poll workers, polling places will close, early voting periods -- which are so important -- will be slashed or eliminated entirely because there just aren't enough people to work them," she states.

Idaho ran an all-mail ballot in May in part because it had trouble finding poll workers.

Even if the general election isn't all-absentee, more Idahoans are likely to vote by mail.

Root notes that the state allows no-excuse absentee balloting, meaning people don't have to give a reason for voting by mail.

She says that also means the state has to beef up staffing on the back end to make sure mailed ballots get counted.

"In the 2016 election, mail ballots only constituted about 28% of all ballots cast," she states. "We're going to see huge increases in November in reliance on vote by mail and states need to be able to handle all of those new mail ballots."

Root says more funding is needed for elections. The CARES Act allotted about $400 million, but she says that's a 10th of what experts say the country needs.

Ryan Pierannunzi is manager of the Fair Election Center's WorkElections.com project, which started in 2018 to help counties recruit poll workers. He says in 2016, more than half of workers were older than 60 -- people who are considered a high risk group from COVID-19.

"It's going to have a major impact on the ability for people who have traditionally served as poll workers to come out and serve again this year," Pierannunzi states.

This is where the WorkElections.com website could come in handy, including for help with mail-in ballot counting.

Pierannunzi says the project is designed to put the varying poll-work requirements from county to county in one place.

"It's very decentralized, and so one of the challenges that this website tries to help address is how difficult it is for people to get information on what they need to do to sign up to serve in their area," he explains.

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.


get more stories like this via email

During this year's ACA open-enrollment period, a record high of more than 16 million people signed up, with 4.4 million more enrolled for health insurance coverage since 2021, according to federal data. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

It's been 13 years since more than 156,000 West Virginians gained health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act. As sweeping and …


Social Issues

High school graduates have the option before taking their next academic step to choose a gap year - for traveling, relaxing, or researching different …

Environment

A bill designed to fight price-gouging at the gas pump is expected to pass the California State Assembly today and be signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom …


Student leaders learn about the estuary near Morro Rock, which is part of the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary. (Kai Monge)

Environment

This week, Hispanic environmental advocates are heading to Washington, D.C., from around the country to engage lawmakers on issues affecting us all…

Social Issues

More than one in three Ohioans are relying on credit cards for spending needs, and nearly a quarter say they've increased their credit-card use in …

2023 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Dani Charbonneau, who runs the Project Vine Alternative Program at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, is the first Martha's Vineyard teacher to win the state's top award for educators. (MTA)

Social Issues

Massachusetts, like other states, continues to struggle with a shortage of teachers. But for one English teacher at Martha's Vineyard Regional High …

Health and Wellness

Beginning next year, more Kentuckians will have expanded access to biomarker testing - which helps doctors customize cancer treatment. Advocates of …

Social Issues

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed new regulations on credit card late fees, which could save Americans billions of dollars…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021