At Thursday afternoon’s meeting of the Monroe County election board, county clerk Nicole Browne reported to her colleagues that she was “a little disheartened” about the early voting turnout so far for the Nov. 8 election.
Election supervisor Karen Wheeler confirmed that the early voting numbers this year are still lagging well behind the numbers for the last midterm year in 2018.
In 2018, about 24,500 people voted early—the combined total for absentee mailed-in ballots and in-person votes. That’s based on the early vote totals in the race for US Senate.
Wheeler also said at Thursday’s election board meeting that she still needs election day poll workers from both parties.
The count of mail-in absentee ballots so far is 2,883, out of the 3,829 that were mailed out by the election division staff.
Through the end of the day on Wednesday, 9,240 people had voted early in person at the election operations center at 3rd and Walnut streets.
Left on the in-person early voting calendar are this Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and the Monday before election day. If those four days maintain the average of about 850 voters that the last three days have tallied, that would project out to about 12,640 early in-person voters.
Added to the potential 3,829 voters who could mail in an absentee ballot, that comes to about 16,469 voters for this year. That’s just about two-thirds the number who voted early in 2018.
If the split between early voters and election day voters is roughly 50-50 like it was in 2018, that would work out to about 33,000 total voters. That doesn’t stack up well against the roughly 52,000 voters who cast a ballot in 2018.
About the need for poll workers on election day, Wheeler said, “We still could use a few more Democrats as well as Republicans.”
Nearly every election day task has to be completed by a pair of poll workers—one Democrat and one Republican.
About her recruitment efforts, Wheeler said, “Democrats are doing well—but we still don’t probably have enough backups.” Compared to recruitment just a few days ago, Republican poll worker numbers are better, Wheeler said.
She added, “But we still always have people dropping out between now and Tuesday morning.” So Wheeler is still looking for people who sign up to do the work.
Pay is different for different positions, but is at least $135 a day.
Information about signing up for working the polls on election day is available on the Monroe County election website.