A new report from UCLA and the Bipartisan Policy Center confirms the high turnover of election workers who administer voting across the country. The problem is particularly acute in battleground states like North Carolina, but it varies from county to county. 

Karen Brinson Bell, North Carolina's lead voting official, told NPR there have been nearly 60 changes in county election directors in five years of tracking the data. She cites low pay, harassment, and increased security responsibilities without additional compensation as contributors.

In Forsyth County, there have been departures but they’ve been manageable according to Tim Tsujii. He’s led the local Board of Elections since 2016. He says there have been roughly a half dozen vacancies since the 2020 general election — absentee managers, training specialists — and some were filled by internal promotions. They’ve also developed a pipeline through what he calls a quasi-internship program with Auburn University master's students.

Tsujii says plans for an early voting schedule are already underway and with two current vacancies, it’s all hands on deck.

"The work never ends," says Tsujii. "You know, the misconception is that we only work two times out of the year and that’s not true. The work for elections is always ongoing. And so we have to make the best of what we have with the resources that we have available including staff to ensure that we can properly administer the election for the voters in Forsyth County."

The current staff numbers are ten full-time positions with up to as many as 20 or more seasonal part-time employees as needed. Tsujii says Forsyth being a larger county is fortunate in having the resources to accommodate added demands. He says for smaller counties, like nearby Stokes, other boards of elections are here to help.

"We do support each other in that we do communicate often and if need be we do lend support to each other among the various counties," he says. "And so, I would speak to sort of the great leadership at the state board level that has sort of promoted and enabled that cross-sharing and we’re not working in silos. We’re working together."

Tsujii says that work includes sharing best practices; helping process excessive public records requests; and providing additional absentee ballots.

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