Montgomery Co., DC residents answer call to help during the general election

The call for poll workers across the region has been heard, and some election boards report big spikes in volunteers for the November election.

In Montgomery County, Maryland, Jim Shalleck, the president of the county’s board of elections said they are doing well when it comes to overall staffing numbers.

“We’ve gotten many, many requests and applications to be a judge,” Shalleck said.

But Shalleck said the need for bilingual volunteers to help people at the county’s 39 voting centers and 11 early voting sites still remains.

Residents who speak Chinese, French, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese are urged to apply to help at polling sites.

He also said Montgomery County would like to see more Republican election judges, since bipartisan teams are needed before and after election day.

At the same time, Shalleck said he doesn’t want to discourage others from sending in an election judge application regardless of their party affiliation.

“We want to be overly cautious to have the reserve bank too,” Shallecks said.

In D.C., the city needs just under 4,000 poll workers to run the elections and if all the applications that have come in pan out, the city will have met its mark, according to D.C. Board of Elections Chair Michael Bennett.

“It has been phenomenal over the last couple weeks,” said Bennett.

Bennet said he’s visited several training sessions for new poll workers that are taking place. He also said it’s evident that younger residents are answering the call for election day help.

“I have noticed the demographic is in the 20s, 30s, I mean dramatically younger than we’ve ever seen before,” Bennett said.

In the city, 1,400 new poll workers have been trained so far, according to Bennett, and just over 3,000 applications are being reviewed.

Bennett said those numbers do not include veteran poll workers who have agreed to return to help.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has also offered the board of elections 2,000 D.C. government employees who will be able to serve as poll workers. While encouraged by the growing number of applications, Bennett said the board plans to take her Bowser’s offer.

As he still encourages those willing to volunteer in the election to fill out applications, Bennett said he is encouraged by the many who have stepped up to help.

“We’re really feeling pretty good about our situation,” Bennett said.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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