Douglas County election officials recognize poll workers, urge more to get involved
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Douglas County Election Commission honored 17 people Wednesday for their hard work at the polls.
“We currently have over 200 active poll workers that have more than 20 years of experience, and we will be adding 17 more today to our Poll Worker Hall of Fame,” Commissioner Brian Kruse said. “All 17 of these have over 20 years of experience helping us here at the election commission and serving the voters of Douglas County.”
Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen was also there, praising the honorees for their accomplishments.
“Our whole community and our state, our nation, owe each one of you a debt of gratitude for the work that you have done and the commitment that you have made in serving as a poll worker for your friends and for your neighbors,” Evnen said.
Kruse said it’s important to thank the stalwarts for their service, whether it be during times of war, peace, or during pandemics.
After all, election days are long.
“When it takes 2,800 of those individuals across our county for a presidential general, you multiply that times 14 hours, you think about the amount of community service hours that are being given for our democracy,” Kruse said.
Said it was just a coincidence that the day his office held the induction was National Poll Worker Recruitment Day, which encourages people to serve as poll workers.
They’re people Kruse said are the backbone of elections.
“Poll workers have just really answered the call for well over a hundred years, as long as we’ve been having elections here in Douglas County and the city of Omaha,” he said.
His office needs volunteers though. They do get paid, and Kruse said it’ll be $12 per hour starting in January.
Election board coordinator Brandon Olson said he started out as a volunteer in 2020, and that it was fulfilling for him.
“It’s an informative experience all across a long day, but it’s a very satisfying day because you get to feel like you’re helping your community,” Olson said.
If there aren’t volunteers, similar to jury duty, citizens get drafted.
“The state of Nebraska is the only state in the nation that does allow for poll workers to be drafted,” Kruse said. “Once you’re called, the law says you need to work four elections. Then you have fulfilled your requirement.”
However, Kruse said if you’re 18 or older and want to do your civic duty while learning more about the election process, his office would be happy to have you volunteer.
Those who’d like to volunteer as poll workers for future elections can click here or call (402) 444-8683.
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