CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - We are less than two weeks away from South Carolina’s primary election, but Charleston County’s election officials say they are extremely short-staffed.
The state’s primary for federal, state, county and municipal elections will be held June 9.
Joseph Debney, the Director of the Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration, said there are 23 locations that are in dire need of poll workers.
A couple of weeks ago Gov. Henry McMaster signed legislation to expand absentee voting in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic. So far in Charleston County, 26,000 people have requested an absentee ballot and the election commission is already seeing some of those returned.
But even though more people will be voting absentee for the primary, officials say they must have people in place at polling locations for anyone who wants to exercise their right to vote in person.
“Even though we might get some assistance from the State Guard and the National Guard, I don’t know if that will be enough in order to get us over that hump because we need to make sure that we have enough people working on election day to facilitate voting for those folks who decide to go out on election day,” Debney said.
Charleston County needs about 150 people to sign up to work as a poll worker. If they aren’t able to hit that number, Charleston County will have to start consolidating polling locations.
The county has upped the pay for anyone who wants to work the June primary and runoff. For a clerk position, the person in charge, they will now get paid $225 to work both elections in June. The regular poll manager will get $165 for both elections.
Charleston County is hoping to have all poll workers in the system by Friday.
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Berkeley County officials say they need about 30 poll workers but they believe they’ll be able to open all of their locations. Dorchester County says, as of right now, they have enough poll workers.
As a heads up, Charleston County has already had some polling locations close. Those are as follows:
- Northbridge Baptist Church will be going to the Charleston County Masonic Center
- Grace on the Ashley Baptist Church will be voting at West Ashley High School
- Palms of Mount Pleasant will be voting at Sweetgrass Village
- Seacoast church will be at Belle Hall Elementary
- Palmetto Presbyterian will be at Wando High School
- St. Mark United Methodist will be at Stono Park Elementary
- St. James Church on James Island will be at Fort Johnson Baptist Church
- Greater Goodwill AME church in Mount Pleasant will be closed but officials are working on a new location for those voters