News & Opinion » News

Elections officials act to avoid repeat of primary problems

by

The Monroe County Board of Elections’ first shot at pandemic-era voting during the June primary was rough sailing. Some inexperienced, inadequately trained poll workers led to confusion, to put it politely, and left some voters and candidates alarmed.

If you’re a Republican and you want to help the general election go a little more smoothly, the Monroe County Board of Elections is looking for you. The board is staffed up on Democratic poll workers but is facing a shortage of registered Republicans to work alongside them. Information about becoming a poll worker is available at monroecounty.gov/elections-inspectors.

Immediately after the June primaries, Monroe County elections officials acknowledged that there were problems at some polling sites and vowed to do better for the general election.

They’ve hired a training team, which is instructing poll-workers daily, according to Lisa Nicolay, the Republican elections commissioner. The board will also be designating site chairs for each polling location and they’ll be explicitly instructed to call the elections commissioners should any questions arise.

“We didn’t want to have the same issues we had with the primary workers,” Nicolay said.

As for widespread concerns about U.S. Postal Service delays tainting the presidential election and everything else down the ballot, and the potential that those fears could lead to packed polling places on Election Day, Nicolay said there’s a simple way voters can help everyone out.



Monroe County has nine days of early voting and during the primary, voters “underutilized” that opportunity, Nicolay said. Between Oct. 24 and Nov. 1, voters registered in the county can go to any of 12 different locations and cast their ballots. CITY has posted a map and list of the locations here, and the county has early voting information at monroecounty.gov/elections-early voting.

“The best thing people can do is go to early voting,” Nicolay said.

Jeremy Moule is CITY’s news editor. He can be reached at jmoule@rochester-citynews.com.