The Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners is planning to hold an open house over the next couple of days for poll workers.

The Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners is planning to hold an open house over the next couple of days for poll workers. According to a letter sent out by Chairman Michael Adam to poll workers, the open house would allow them to evaluate the equipment before making a decision about returning as a poll worker.

Adam said, “We will provide facemasks and gloves and there will be evening and weekend classes to accommodate all.”

Four classes have been designated but the location is still to be determined. During last week’s meeting George Stepps recommended the Reynolds Center, White Hall Community Center and the Pine Bluff Convention Center as training facilities, which he would be checking the cost and verifying availability.

Class 1 will serve as orientation for all poll workers and election officials. This precursor course will allow participants to observe the process from beginning to end.

Demonstrations on how easy it is to turn on the equipment will be conducted as well as how voters are processed and vote and how easy it is to turn off the equipment and go home.

“At closing time just flip a switch, remove the thumb drives, and voted ballots,” said Adam. “The machine automatically prints a results report. No more RTAL tapes, PEB’s or flask disks to deal with.”

Class 2 will focus on the Electronic Poll Book Poll Worker Learning Plan.

Poll judges, their key assistants and check-in clerks will learn how to set up the PVR tablet for voter check-in and train on the usage of the voting device.

According to Chairman Stu Soffer, the new poll tablets will require Internet connection to operate.

Class 3 will target the poll judges, their key assistants and if determined poll sheriffs to learn the ExpressVote Ballot Marker Plan. The last class will target the same audience reviewing the DS-200 Tabulator Plan.

Each class is estimated from thirty-minute sessions up to an hour and a half.

“When it is time for training, it will be in a large room to permit social distancing and lots of playtime on the new equipment,” said Adam.

PPE was a concern as the Election Commission’s objective is to have contactless voting experience.

Check-in clerks will be separated by six feet and each will have a plastic tray so the voter can slide their photo ID to you then you return it with their ballot card and a pencil eraser for them to use to mark ExpressVote touch screen ballot markers.

Through the CARES Act, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) will be distributed to counties to provide emergency funding for additional costs spent to prevent, prepare for and respond to coronavirus for the 2020 federal election.

“Secretary of State Elections Division will be delivering items on the attached listing to the election commission and county clerk in response to our joint request to provide personal protection equipment (PPE) for the November 3 election,” said Soffer.

Those items include KN95 reusable face masks, gallon containers hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, disinfecting cleaner and wipes, face shields, alcohol, microfiber towels, social distancing floor decals, Plexiglas table top shields and disposable stylus pens.

“This is going to be a no contact election and receiving these PPE items will save the county a significant amount of money especially since we did not budget for PPE,” said Soffer. “It also provides more than we were considering.”

Soffer adds all that remains to be purchased are the small trays that will be used to collect the voter’s photo ID, their ballot card and stylus. 

“This is but another step we hope demonstrates to our volunteers how seriously the election commission is taking protecting their health and safety when they come to training and work on Election Day,” said Soffer.

Poll workers are asked to contact administrative support, George Stepps, for any questions, suggestions or to confirm their intent to work.   Stepps will handle the administrative tasks and training.