Central Texas counties take different approaches in training poll workers

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CENTRAL TEXAS (KXAN) — Central Texas continues to see record-breaking voting numbers on day two of early voting.

In Travis County, day-two voters on Wednesday ended up surpassing Tuesday’s numbers. According to election officials in Williamson County 10% of registered voters have already voted.

This is happening at a time when there are added challenges and complaints due to COVID-19.

“I went up to ask people how long they waited, and people said they had been there for over two hours, and then I left” said Jennifer Librach Nall.

Nall says the Travis County voter website showed a 0-10 wait Tuesday, but that wasn’t the case when she arrived. Others had better luck.

“I walked past the library, and I said, ‘hey no line,’ and they said, ‘come on in,'” said Charles Schwartz.

Without any hiccups, Schwartz cast his ballot Wednesday at the Central Austin Public Library, but it wasn’t like this a day before, as explained by a KXAN viewer. The viewer says he and his wife came to vote at two separate times and both times the ballot drop box jammed. According to him, the poll workers did not know how to troubleshoot the machine.

“They forgot their training and didn’t realize all they had to do was reboot it,” said Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvior.

DeBeauvior was aware of the hiccup at this Austin Public Library location Tuesday. She says some poll workers are seeing the equipment for the first time in person.

“With all of our brand new people, during COVID, you have to go through a teams meeting for training,” said DeBeauvior.

In Williamson County, the training remained much of the same when comparing previous years.

“We certainly don’t have any sort of online training. Our training is hands on and in-person,” said Chris Davis, Williamson County elections administrator. “We try to cram a lot of information into a four-hour training.”

If an issue surfaces at a polling location, both counties have a judge that can help troubleshoot.

“There are a lot of moving parts in an election, and a lot of moving parts at a polling location. If someone doubts that, then we encourage them to register to be a poll worker,” said Davis.

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