Elkhart election officials looking for poll workers

NOW: Elkhart election officials looking for poll workers

ELKHART, Ind. - Elkhart Community Schools called a special election for a referendum. As a result, county election officials were told they need to find poll workers to staff the polling places for the special election. It will be the first election in the county since the November 2020 general election and since the COVID-19 vaccines became widely available. Officials said that has made staffing this upcoming election as opposed to the November general election like night and day.

"I don't recall what the numbers are, but there's going to be a lot less polling places," said county poll worker Tanzie Nielsen. "Obviously, only those that live in the Elkhart Community School district can vote for this. So, that's a smaller population. You just don't need as many polling places."

With the referendum being the only thing on the ballot in this special election, election officials said they don't have to find nearly as many workers as they did last November.

"I typically will only need about 40 which is a much smaller number than 152 from last year," Elkhart County Democratic Chairman Chad Crabtree said.

In November, the pandemic was at a high point. Case counts and concern about exposure forced election officials to make adjustments, adjustments, they said, they don't foresee in staff May's special election.

"I think it's kind of a non-factor," Elkhart County Republican Chairman Dan Holtz said. "A year ago, we had some upside and downside. Upside was that a lot of younger people, understanding the need, came forward and volunteered to work at the polling centers. On the downside, some older poll workers felt, I think prudently, that maybe they should sit it out a little bit."

Tanzie Nielsen worked the polls in the 2020 General Election. She said she is "pretty sure" she contracted COVID-19 from helping set up the day before. She also said the vaccine being more widely available helped ease some fears of volunteering.

"I'm due for my second vaccine in a week," Nielsen said. "It will be well within that timeframe that Election Day pops up, and I feel like it will be safe."

If you are interested in volunteering to work the polls on the May 4th special election in Elkhart County, you can contact either Chad Crabtree at 574-596-6750 or at chad@alumni.iu.edu or Dan Holtz by either calling or texting 574-238-6239. The special election for the Elkhart Community Schools referendum is set for May 4th.

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