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Here's what the Norfolk Office of Elections is doing to beat nationwide poll worker shortage

The director of elections and general registrar in Norfolk said the number of volunteers has gone down over the last few years, especially during the pandemic.

NORFOLK, Va. — With Election Day less than three months away, offices across Hampton Roads are getting ready, even with the challenge of a nationwide poll worker shortage.

To beat the shortage before the November midterms, the Norfolk Office of Elections is working to recruit younger volunteers.

Stephanie Iles, the director of elections and general registrar in Norfolk, said the number of volunteers has gone down over the last few years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We tend to have a higher pool of elderly who volunteer to serve the polls and they may have some health conditions which would preclude them from serving," Iles said.

She explained that each of the nearly 50 polling locations across Norfolk is staffed with about 10 to 12 people, though for some elections, they haven’t hit that mark.

“We’ve been recruiting with our local colleges and universities to try to get some of the younger students out," Iles said. "We also have a page program we’ve done with several of our high schools in the area.”

Right now, Iles has already started voter registration training sessions to get volunteers ready ahead of the election period.

“As we have more legislative challenges coming on us, we’re trying to get enough people so that we can train them early enough so that they can work not only during election day but during the voting period,” Iles said.

To be eligible to serve, you must be a registered voter, but you don't have to live in the locality where you want to serve. You can apply on the Virginia Department of Elections website or call your local registrar's office.

What are the important dates for the 2022 elections?

  • Election Day: Nov. 8. 
  • The deadline to register to vote: Oct. 17 (5 p.m. in person and 11:59 p.m. online).
  • Early voting: Sept. 23. 
  • Last day of early in-person voting: Nov. 5. 
  • Deadline to apply for an absentee by mail: Oct. 28.

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