By: Nancy Cook Lauer; West Hawaii Today; July 26, 2018
HILO — With just over two weeks remaining before the Aug. 11 primary election, the county is still short 20 poll workers at West Hawaii precincts.
Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto on Wednesday put out a call for volunteers, saying poll worker shortages can have a domino effect, leading to statewide delays in tabulating results.
If preparations aren’t completed at each polling place prior to their scheduled opening of 7 a.m., the poll could open late. A shortage of workers could mean that materials can’t be picked up promptly when the polls close at 6 p.m. That could delay results statewide.
“These volunteers are an important part of the voting process,” Nakamoto said. “Without these individuals stepping up to serve their communities on election day we could not open polling places. A shortage of workers will cause delays for voters and may contribute to voters not voting.”
Poll workers are needed for precincts 05/04 Hokena Elementary School, 05/05 Saint Benedict Catholic Church, 05/06 Konawaena Elementary School, 05/07 Konawaena High School and 06/05 Kona Palisades.
Volunteers are also needed for for 05/01 Naalehu Elementary School.
“We are again struggling to staff the polling places in Kona,” Nakamoto said. “Every election year, staffing precincts in the Kona area has been a challenge.”
Precinct officials are paid $85. Anyone can volunteer, provided they are 16 years of age or older, can read and write, follow directions and be able to lift 40 pounds. Hours are from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. or until excused by the precinct chairman.
Volunteers will be trained prior to Election Day.
If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer, contact the Elections Division at 323-4400.