BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — At the beginning of the week, the Kern County Clerk's Office was struggling to staff their 145 polling sites. On Wednesday, Aimee Espinoza, the Assistant Auditor Controller with the County Clerk Registrar of Voters, said the office was so desperate, they were calling other county departments asking for people to sign up.
"We’re kinda hovering around the same number because as we get new volunteers, we’re getting people who are dropping out," Espinoza said Wednesday afternoon.
After catching wind of the problem here in the county, California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber said her office would step in to help.
"We’ve sent out a notice to all of those who’ve worked for us in the past and to other places to say, ‘Hey, if you want to be a poll worker, please go call the Registrar of Voters in Kern County. They can use workers,'" said Dr. Weber.
On Wednesday, the county was at 1,300 volunteers, but needs 1,600 to be fully staffed. Dr. Weber's office has already contacted 1,400 past election volunteers. And it looks like it's paying off.
"We're currently under one hundred that still need to be placed. We have applications still coming in," Espinoza wrote in an email on Friday.
Dr. Weber encourages whoever can, including high school students, to sign up.
I've had students 16 and 17 work the polls. It’s really exciting and a good experience for them," she said.
Espinoza says it's a volunteer effort and an important part of state democracy.
We need people to step up. If not you, then who to come and make sure that everyone can exercise their right to vote?
If you're interested in serving as a poll worker on Tuesday, visit KernVote.com/PollWorkers for further information.