COVID-19 pandemic brings change in how election workers are trained

COVID-19 pandemic brings change in how election workers are trained

SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Soon, training for election workers will begin ahead of the 2020 general election. In Smith County, they’re adapting their training methods to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.

In years past, training election workers involved gathering in sessions to learn the ins and outs of the election process. Smith County Elections Administrator Karen Nelson says that training is changing.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, we really had to start thinking about a different way because we don’t really have a room large enough to pack in even 50 people and social distance and also have the hands on and things like that,” Nelson said.

Smith County’s solution to training this year’s batch of election workers is going virtual.

“The plan is to have an elections training website. They’ll access it and come up with their own password and within that website, they’ll be just everything that they could ever want to even know about elections,” Nelson said.

Here, election judges and clerks will be able to access all the training they’ll need.

“We’re going to have videos, how-to videos of setting up, breaking down, unpacking things, putting things together,” Nelson said.

The training website will be developed by a local web design company called Group M7. Nelson says it will be secured and used only by those who need it.

“The workers would have a password instead of putting videos on YouTube, which a lot of counties do that and that’s fine, but we just didn’t want any kind of really specific training information to be out on YouTube, you know so to speak. So, it’s going to be really secure,” Nelson said.

Today in Commissioners Court, the agreement with the web design company was approved. It will cost $9,900 to get the site up and running and it’s expected to be complete by mid-September.

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