N.H. Poll Workers Are Anxious, And They're Processing More Absentee Ballots Than Ever
New Hampshire's poll workers are getting ready for Tuesday's election, amid the many challenges brought about by COVID-19.
Deborah Fauver, an election moderator at Kennett High School in Conway, said this is her second time working a presidential election. She said the team has spread out polling locations and is keeping PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) on hand.
“Lining people up at the polls who want to work during COVID takes a lot of work,” said Fauver, who has been a poll worker for four years. “We've had to find poll workers who were comfortable sitting in a public space for several hours.”
To accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, she hired more poll workers and is asking them to work half days. She said this could potentially limit exposure to the virus.
Fauver said she had particular trouble finding poll workers willing to staff the area for voters who don't wear masks - although she eventually found the volunteers.
Some poll workers are also feeling a little anxious before Election Day. Sherry Farrell, a town clerk in Londonderry, said her office has been preparing for the election for months. And now, they're in the final hours.
“At this point, it's very much like Christmas,” Farrell said. “We're waiting for the day to get here. We're doing all the preparation now, the last minute things that need to be done, but at this point, we need to be ready to go.”
Among the final steps is the pre-processing of absentee ballots. Several clerks are seeing an increase in last-minute absentee ballots because of fears of contracting COVID-19.
In 2016, Farrell said, her office received over a thousand absentee ballots. This year they've received close to 6,000. Farrell's office has been calling residents who made mistakes on their forms.
Fauver is facing the same issue. She said in the state primary, Conway processed 900 absentee ballots; this time around, they've already received 2,500.