Poll workers sought for primary election

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HILO —With time running out for poll workers to be recruited and trained for the Aug. 13 primary election, county election officials are sending out a plea for help.

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HILO —With time running out for poll workers to be recruited and trained for the Aug. 13 primary election, county election officials are sending out a plea for help.

There’s less than a month before the primary, but the county is still short 148 precinct workers. The need is greatest in Honokaa, South Kona and North Kona. Workers are also being recruited for Hamakua, Hilo, Puna and Waimea.

Kekuaokalani Gymnasium, Kealakehe High School, Honokaa High School Cafeteria, Konawaena Elementary Cafeteria and Konawaena High Cafeteria each are 10 or more poll workers short.

There are still worker shortages in 23 of the county’s 42 polling places.

The short staffing could have a domino effect throughout the state, said Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto.

If preparations aren’t completed at each polling place prior to their scheduled opening of 7 a.m., the poll could open late. A shortage of workers could mean that materials can’t be picked up promptly when the polls close at 6 p.m. That could delay results statewide.

“Every election year recruiting volunteers is the most challenging part of our job. These election day volunteers are a very valuable part of the election process,” Nakamoto said. “Some volunteers may have to take on two positions just to ensure their polling places are maintained. The downside to this would be voters would more than likely experience delays on Election Day.”

Precinct officials are paid $85. Anyone can volunteer, provided they are 16 years of age or older, can read and write, follow directions and be able to lift 40 pounds. Hours are from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. or until excused by the precinct chairman.

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Volunteers will be trained prior to Election Day.

For more information, call 933-1591 or email Kui.Kama@hawaiicounty.gov .

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