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County plans reduction of in-person Election Day voting locations

Clark County’s top election official wants to reduce the number of planned in-person voting locations available on Election Day, officials were told Tuesday.

Initially, the county planned to offer 159 in-person voting locations on Nov. 3. Officials are now planning to offer 125, according to Joe Gloria, Clark County registrar of voters. The County Commission does not need to approve the change.

The change comes as officials have struggled to recruit the necessary number of workers to staff polling places during a pandemic.

“In my opinion, it’s important that we commit to a number of sites that we can fully support,” Gloria told commissioners at Tuesday’s Clark County Commission meeting. “We’re feeling that 125 is a number that we should be able to get volunteers for, but it’s going to continue to be a struggle between now and November.”

Gloria said he anticipates the county will need about 3,100 workers to staff voting centers. As of Tuesday morning, the county had just less than 1,800 workers recruited, he told commissioners. He said recruiters will work through October to ensure the county has adequate staffing.

Officials have been recruiting polling place workers for the past seven weeks, he said.

Some have shown interest but changed their minds. About 400 people who have worked elections in the past have preemptively reached out to to say they are uncomfortable working this time around, Gloria said.

Workers who staff polling locations on Election Day will be paid $225 or $250, depending on their job.

Commissioner Lawrence Weekly suggested commissioners consider increasing pay to attract volunteers.

“I’m just really concerned that we may possibly experience what we did on primary night,” he said.

Voters were still casting ballots hours after voting locations closed in June’s mail-based primary. Only three in-person sites were available in Clark County then.

Before the election, Gloria and his staff recommended voters cast ballots by mail. He called the lines “unacceptable” and said the general election would be better.

Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick said recruitment for election workers is a consistent issue and called for commissioners to address the problem with a permanent fix.

Because it is not uncommon for workers to call out on Election Day, Gloria said workers will continue to recruit as if they need to staff 159 locations.

Gloria said there will be no shortage of personal protection equipment for polling place workers. A minimum of four people will staff each polling site to disinfect equipment and other surfaces, he said.

The 125 planned sites still exceeds the minimum 100 Election Day sites required in Clark County by state law.

Voters will have multiple options to cast ballots. Ballots will be mailed to all registered voters this year, and the county will also offer 35 early voting locations, Gloria said.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter.

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