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Sarasota County Needs Poll Workers

A sign that says vote here today
Susan Giles Wantuck/WUSF Public Media
Sarasota, Polk, Pinellas, Hernando, Pasco, and Hillsborough County are all hiring poll workers this election season.

Primary election day is Aug. 18, and it seems every county in the greater Tampa Bay region needs poll workers to help out. Sarasota County will need to employ about 1,300 people to deal with the general election on Nov. 3. 

Elections Supervisor Ron Turner said he lost a number of poll workers early in the cycle. "Back in March, for the March presidential preference primary, about 30% of our poll worker positions were unfilled or poll workers dropped and decided not to work because of the virus," he said.

The average age of poll workers in his county is 69, and that makes them part of the group most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Turner said those interested in applying to be a poll worker should go to the website, SarasotaVotes.com.

Potential employees must be registered to vote in the county in which they are applying to become a poll worker. 

However, Turner said Florida teenagers who are at least 16 are permitted to pre-register to vote and if they do, they are eligible to work at the polls. Turner said these are paid positions and the pay varies depending on the job responsibilities.

Pinellas County needs 1,500 poll workers and they have also heard from people who have worked the polls before, but are now not comfortable doing that because of the coronavirus.

Polk, Hernando, Pasco and Hillsborough County are all hiring poll workers this election season.