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Talladega County may have to recruit additional poll workers ahead of general election

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Poll worker training took place in Talladega County the week of Feb. 23-29, 2020.

TALLADEGA COUNTY -- Although making any sort of prediction about 2020 has proven to be a difficult game, it seems likely the November general election will draw a large turnout. 

And according to Talladega County Probate Judge Randy Jinks, that may require recruiting more poll workers. 

“I’m sending letters out to the inspectors,” he said. “If a lot of poll workers don’t feel safe, the inspectors will take the lead in finding someone in the community to take their place. 

“You can move poll workers from other precincts, but then those poll workers would have to vote absentee, since they’ll have to be there before (the polls) open and after they close.”

Talladega County had 183 poll workers in July, which was fine because turnout was light. For a general election, about 205 poll workers are normally required.

There will also have to be alternates at all polling places in case a regular worker has to leave or does not feel well.

Jinks said Talladega County has normally paid poll workers $75, but during the last round of elections, that went up to $100 and will increase to $125 in the general election. 

The additional cost will be covered by money coming to the county through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 

Personal protective equipment for poll workers will be provided as well. All poll worker schools will be at Winterboro this year, Jinks added.

In other election related news, Jinks said the last day to register is Oct. 19, and people voting in the general election can either vote a straight ticket or a split ticket, as opposed to the primary, where voters could only vote for one party’s candidates. 

“If you vote for both candidates in one race, your vote in that race won’t count, but it won’t spoil the rest of the ballot. Your other votes will still count,” Jinks said. 

He also said rumors about names being removed from the poll lists were not true. 

“Names are only removed if the Board of Registrars gets a notice from the Health Department that someone has died,” he said. “And even then, there are some hoops to jump through.”