Shortage of poll workers not a problem in Vermont, thanks to partnership with state bar

Vermont News

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — In September, election officials around the country were scrambling to find volunteers to work the polls on November 3.

But that’s not a problem in Vermont, according to several town clerks. “Unfortunately, we’ve had more volunteers than we’ve been able to accommodate,” said Burlington Assistant City Clerk Amy Bovee. “But that’s a good problem to have.”

Bovee says it’s been hard to turn people away, but there will be other chances to volunteer soon.

“We suggest they check back in December or January, and we’ll start to recruit for the March Town Meeting Day Election,” said Bovee.

A potential shortage of workers may have been averted thanks to a joint partnership between the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office and the Vermont Bar Association. The goal was to make sure city and town clerks had a pool of candidates to call upon, if needed.

“It started, principally, to recruit lawyers and law students and volunteers at their local polling stations,” said the Vermont Bar Association Executive Director, Teri Corsones. “This was in anticipation of a higher than usual turn out, and are in need of additional volunteers.”

Additionally, Corsones says they had to take into account the biggest concern these days.

“With the COVID-19 restrictions, the Secretary of States Office thought they might not be comfortable appearing in person,” Corsones said.

With hard times hitting the world, Corsones says there is some good to come out of this election season. “It’s compelled people to take an interest, and also recognize how important it is that people exercise their right to vote.”

A record-breaking number of people voted early, which Corsones says gives her hope for future elections.

“That’s how it should be every time, and hopefully that will be going forward. Even if there aren’t many issues that are compelling people to vote, they will continue to exercise their right and vote from here on in.”

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