With election on horizon, support for Iowa poll workers

DES MOINES — With elections on the horizon, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate has launched a public awareness campaign in support of poll workers. Election workers have faced interference and harassment at some polling places around the country. Pate calls poll workers the backbone of democratically sound elections in Iowa.

The public awareness campaign is aimed at recruiting poll workers, and making sure voters understand how crucial they are to the success of free and fair elections. Pate stresses it will help guarantee accurate voting results. “I refer to them as our secret weapons,” Pate explained. “They’re on the front line, 10,000 of these folks. Our poll workers come from all walks of life — you’ve got retirees, you have teachers and farmers and construction workers, high school students — the full gamut, if you will.”

Iowa voters will cast ballots in city and school elections on November 7th. As the political climate in America has become more partisan and divisive, poll workers have faced harassment during some elections around the country. Pate points out it is not just the people voters typically see watching over the ballot boxes.  “These are poll workers who actually work also at the courthouse, helping process the absentee ballots that come into play, or if there’s any satellite voting,” Pate noted.

He adds Iowa poll workers have not faced harassment for the most part, and credits the awareness campaign with recruiting and retaining more of them in Iowa, as well as bringing back the ones who were sidelined by the COVID pandemic.