An increase in threats to poll workers in the wake of Trump’s 2020 election has many worried that there will be a shortage of workers to work during this year’s election. However, there was a positive sign in Central Texas, many counties were in good shape to meet their goals for hiring by the beginning of early voting.
Hays, Bastrop, Burnet, Williamson and Caldwell counties all claimed they could not have any difficulty in hiring sufficient poll employees. Kristin Miles who is Bastrop County elections administrator, Bastrop County elections manager has said the polling places were completely staffed for several months.
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“We believe that we could be able to fill some positions,” she said, “but we have an inventory of back-up employees that we are working on at present, and I believe we have a significant number of those on the list.”
Travis County Clerk Rebecca Guerrero stated that an increase in pay of $15 to $20 an hour made it easier for poll workers to employ poll workers.
“A majority of people were coming in, ready to get started. This has been awe-inspiring,” she said.
Despite the smooth hiring process, Travis County said it is preparing its poll employees for the possibility of violence which could arise. Every poll worker receives de-escalation classes, which include the ability to listen to voters’ concerns and interpret body language to communicate prior to a situation turning violent.
“These are issues to watch out for to ensure that people can be prepared to communicate more effectively and be able to calm any of these situations” Guerrero said.
A report by an U.S. House committee released in August outlines some of the threats that election workers received since the election. In one Texas instance, a social media post demanded an election administrator’s hanging as well as harm to their children.
West of Austin West of Austin, in Gillespie County, two full-time election workers resigned in the summer due to threats. The county’s officials did not respond to a request for discussion of their personnel prior to the elections.