A concerned election official, Carolyn Sternowski, voiced her thoughts in a recent letter (“There’s a reason for lack of poll workers,” Aug. 7).
Sternowski questions the purpose of computers. Iowa’s Voter ID law is intended to verify a voter’s identity. Computers allow us to do felon checks, scan a person’s ID and identify where a voter should vote. They ensure that new voters have the correct documentation. They make voter processing faster — shortening long lines. They also allow faster tabulations.
Paper registers will continue to be used in many general election locations as Linn County cannot afford full coverage. However, we are aware that technology is moving forward.
Sternowski references a Gazette article highlighting 150 newly recruited workers. This does not include our database of long-term PEOs (approximately 700). We appreciate those who continue to serve.
Sternowski is correct that changes need to be made. To her concern about three PEOs at polling locations — we will have five to eight PEOs at all general election polling locations. The general is much larger than the primary, but worker numbers must increase.
We also will have three to four hours of paid training for all officials and optional computer lab training. This will cover the new Voter ID law and technology.
Democracy is burdensome. It requires people who are willing to give of their time and understand that change is inevitable. It requires feedback and we welcome that feedback. We hope that our workers are willing to take on the challenges of the future with us.
Deputy Commissioner of Elections