DES MOINES, Iowa — Election Day is finally on the horizon. During unprecedented times, America is facing an unprecedented election, and poll workers will have a front row seat.
“It will be a long day. I think the crowds will be off the charts,” said Ryan Crane, a poll worker in Iowa. “I believe voting is our civic duty and I want to make sure everybody has access to the polls.”
Crane has been an Iowa poll worker for primary and general elections since 2014. “The big thing that is different this time is that at many locations in Polk County you will be checking in on an iPad, rather than checking in with those big black books you use to sign everything,” said Crane.
Crane has been prepped, along with countless other poll workers through the Polk County Auditor’s office, for perhaps the most unique Election Day in history. Crane said, “Polk County has equipped us with face shields and face masks and gloves and we will be equipping voters with some of the same and making sure everyone stays six feet apart.”
With the pandemic, many counties have asked elderly poll workers, the most vulnerable group, to stay home. “I get a little roster of the five or eight people that I’ll be working with on Election Day, and I know half of them were new to me. They have done a good job of reaching out and finding new blood.”
For a group that rarely receives praise, Dough Co. Pizza in the Drake Neighborhood is urging the community to donate $5, either in-house or online, so they can feed poll workers in a dozen nearby precincts. “We can be this avenue for people if they want to donate to poll workers and say thank you. And what better way to say thank you than a nice warm pizza at the end of the night,” said Dough Co. Pizza co-owner Evan Davis.
For some voters in line for early voting Monday in Polk County, it took two hours to cast a ballot. While Election Day voters may grow frustrated, poll workers like Crane are planning on a 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. shift but say it’s well worth it in the name of democracy. Crane said, “You are part of a moment in history, and this year because of the pandemic and because of how excited everybody is for their respective candidate, I feel like this year will be no exception.”
You can donate a pizza to poll workers through the Toast App or by going online to www.doughcodsm.com and select “Pizza for Poll Workers” on the MENU tab.