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Sen. looks to require more poll worker training

Contributing Writer
Monday, December 3, 2012

Sen. Paul Jabour, D-Providence, recently announced his intent to introduce legislation that would increase the training required to become an election poll worker.
The move comes after polling places in Providence experienced long lines during November’s election, Jabour said. Some citizens in Jabour’s home district faced two hour waits before they could cast their votes, and the Juanita Sanchez polling place in Lower South Providence had waiting times of up to three hours.
Jabour said his legislation would require election workers to undergo more preparation to earn the necessary credentials. A more comprehensive training would allow workers to handle many of the typical problems that crop up on Election Day – such as long lines – allowing people to  “vote in a timely manner,” Jabour said.
Because of the job’s importance, Jabour said he wants to ensure poll workers are handling it correctly.
“The (ballot) was essentially five pages long,” said Kathy Placencia, administrator of elections for the Providence Board of Canvassers. “Obviously, it’s going to take some time for the voters to get through it.” Increased worker training might not have been helpful in this case, she said.
Workers currently undergo a single poll training session before Election Day. Jabour aims to expand this model to require two sessions each year, non-election years included. After two years, attendees would receive a certificate qualifying them to work the polls.

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