New poll workers on duty for Election Day

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK Allen Forgacs of St. Clairsville enjoys his first time as a poll worker, stationed at the St. Clairsville Recreation Center for Tuesday’s primary election.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Voting was slow and turnout light on Tuesday during the final races of the primary election for members of the Ohio Central Committee and some state representatives, but some of Belmont County’s newer poll workers had the chance to gain practical experience and acclimate to the job.

The Belmont County Board of Elections is always on the lookout for new poll workers, and with the retirement of many during the COVID-19 pandemic, the call has continued to go out.

During the smaller concluding election for the primary, the board had reduced the number of poll workers at each station from four to three and numbers were sufficient. Elected officials and county and municipal employees were also approached, so some new faces were present.

“Extremely slow today,” veteran poll worker and St. Clairsville Councilwoman Linda Jordan said of the evening’s voting at the recreation center. “It has not been a good turnout.”

She added that as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, only 18 voters had shown up to cast their ballots.

She hoped more would come in as the work day ended.

Jordan pointed out several new poll workers on duty.

One first-time poll worker was Allen Forgacs of St. Clairsville.

“I had a friend that worked the polls and he said that it was interesting,” he said. “I decided to come. It is interesting, but we weren’t very busy today.”

He said the training was not as challenging as he had feared.

“I thought I didn’t understand it at first, but it turned out it was very beneficial,” he said. “It was slow today, so I didn’t have any problems at all.”

Forgacs added the slower pace provided an opportunity to get his feet wet, and he intends to continue as a poll worker in the upcoming general election.

“But that’s going to be a busy one I think,” he said.

Mark Schott of St. Clairsville was another new poll worker, but Tuesday was his second time staffing an election. He got his start during the 2020 general election, during hotly contested races with restrictions in place for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was intense, compared to today,” he said.

Schott spoke briefly about his motivations.

“I just thought it was time in my life to do my civic duty,” he said.

“(The training) wasn’t hard at all, I enjoyed it. It was interesting,” he said, adding that he recommends anyone interested in being a poll worker not to hesitate to get involved. “I think it would make people feel good if they participated in the election.”

After the polls closed, Deputy Elections Director Kamron Chervenak said she did not have the number of participating new poll workers at hand, but added the new poll workers did well and would be welcome during future elections. She noted newer poll workers were paired with more seasoned workers.

The board of elections office is located at 52180 National Rd. St. Clairsville. The number is 740-526-0188.


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