With the November general election less than two weeks away, Anderson County once again is facing a serious shortage of poll workers.
Katy Smith, the county's elections director, announced the shortage late Tuesday afternoon in a news release.
Smith said there is a particular shortage of poll workers in Piedmont, Williamston, Powdersville and Easley. The precincts affected include Brushy Creek, Williamston Mill, Pelzer, West Pelzer, Powdersville, Hunt Meadows, Mount Airy and others, Smith said.
It is not clear how many more poll workers are needed in Anderson County. Smith only released prepared statement and did not immediately respond to questions about the shortage.
This is not the first time Anderson County has experienced a shortage of poll workers.
In the South Carolina Republican primary in February, a shortage of poll workers and some problems with equipment caused long lines at Anderson County's busiest precincts.
Voters at McCants Middle School in Anderson were particularly angry, with many saying they waited in line up to an hour and 45 minutes to cast their ballots. As lines grew in the school gymnasium on the afternoon of the primary, only three poll workers were on the job in the building.
After those problems gained Anderson County statewide attention, Smith implemented two recruiting programs to try to find more poll workers.
“Even with all of our efforts and the two additional recruitment programs, we are still in a serious need of workers in these areas," Smith said in her prepared statement.
Chris Whitmire, a spokesman for the State Election Commission, said Wednesday he had not heard about specific worker shortages in other counties, but knows that the possibility of them is always a concern.
"Generally, I can say that for county boards of voter registration and elections ... this is always something they have to work on," Whitmire said. "It is always difficult to find people and to find good people. And really, just having enough workers isn't enough. You need a pool of backups because there is always the chance that something could happen that would make a worker unable to be at the polls at the last minute."
Election Workers in South Carolina will be paid $75 for working this Election Day and $60 for attending training.That is a total of $135 paid by the state for each worker. Poll clerks receive an additional $60.
South Carolina law allows people who are 16 or 17 to serve at the polls in some capacities if they have had proper training. Smith said her staff has reached out to schools in Anderson County to try to recruit teens "but the response has been extremely low."
Whitmire said the law also allows a South Carolina resident to serve as a poll worker in his or her home county or in an adjacent county.
Smith is asking anyone who is interested in serving as a poll worker to immediately contact the Anderson County Voter Registration and Elections Office at 864-260-4035.
"The bottom line is that long lines are expected this Nov. 8," Smith said. "And the first step in managing them is having enough election workers to meet the need and demand of voters at the polls."