Letters to the Editor

There's a reason for lack of poll workers

This is in response to the front page article in The Gazette on Aug. 5, “Iowa poll workers: Aging and in demand.”

Here is my question for Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, Linn County Auditor Joel Miller and all the other election officials who decided to purchase new computers and software for Iowa elections: How does this make elections better? Fairer? Safer?

I have been a precinct election official for 29 years in Linn County. Checking voters in a book is fair and easy. But this year Linn County purchased computerized voter ID machines. The software did not work properly. Software writers who were employees of the company that made the system went to the precincts using it and revised the software during the last election. That seems strange.

Training on these machines was given by a Linn County employee who was new and did not know how to work the computer. A subsequent training class was never scheduled.

Only three PEOs were hired for each precinct. Since a ballot cannot be issued unless three workers are present, there was not time for a bathroom break, much less a food break. We had to eat while in the voting area. And that is in a 16-hour day. If a PEO had to leave the room, no ballots could be issued until the worker returned.

Now tell me why only 150 people have signed up to work the next election.

Carolyn Sternowski

Cedar Rapids

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