Poll workers in North Dakota prepare for the big day

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 6:51 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Poll workers are essential to running elections. In recent years, those workers have come under some intense scrutiny because of ballot harvesting conspiracy theories.

A 16-hour workday can be extremely exhausting, and that paired with pressure to ensure elections are safe and secure could make many people crack.

“It can be taxing some days, you know, to work the long hours and not really get a good break,” said Erika White, Burleigh County election coordinator.

Since the 2020 presidential election, poll workers have come under fire, for what some extremists say is questionable ballot box behavior. Vern Laning has been a poll worker for 10 years and says that is not the case.

“I haven’t witnessed anything as far as trying to bias it, doing anything incorrectly,” said Laning.

There are 255 people in charge of working the 18 voting sites in Burleigh County. All must be trained beforehand to ensure they are up to date with the laws and procedures.

“Making sure that they have a good understanding so we can have a successful election,” said White.

Debbie Kroshus is a former Burleigh County recorder who used to oversee the acceptance of ballots at the end of the night on Election Day.

“And the workers would come in and be exhausted because that is an extremely long day,” said Kroshus.

Kroshus is now working elections again, but she decided she wanted to be involved in the process in a different way.

“Knowing that you are serving not only the county but the country in a general election like this, it’s our duty,” said Kroshus.

Workers train about a week in advance of the election to ensure they know how to smoothly assist voters on Election Day.

“I usually feel somewhat accomplished. I’m kind of anxious to see the results of the election naturally, but, yeah, I feel like you got that load off your back,” said Laning.

Polls open at 7 a.m. on November 8.

North Dakota is the only state that does not require voter registration to cast a ballot.