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As Georgians get set to vote, here’s how one county is combating shortages of poll workers

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office says 131,000 Georgians cast ballots on Monday in the midterm election, setting a record.

This comes as many voting precincts are dealing with shortages of poll workers.

Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston went inside one of Cobb County’s training classes as they prepared for the election and spoke with some poll workers about what it’s like on the front lines.

“I just enjoy the people, and I’m so proud of the dedicated workers here,” said Cynthia Smith, a poll manager with 24 years of service. “I just enjoy it.”

Cynthia Bussey has been a poll worker for 10 years.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes, I’ve seen a lot of growth, I’ve seen a lot of development that’s really made the voting process better,” Bussey said. “I think the most exciting thing for me is being able to interact with the community.”

Huddleston watched as poll workers received training to use voting equipment.

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“I like the hands-on that they do in the classes, the professionalism that is pretty into this. It’s just a super training center,” Smith said.

Election offices throughout the country have struggled with poll worker shortages, but Georgia counties, including Cobb, have worked for months to make sure they have enough staff.

“In terms of recruiting and getting more people to come and work the elections, has it been difficult to get folks to come forth now?” Huddleston asked Smith.

“Well, like I say now, I’ve got my husband working for me, I’ve got my two next-door neighbors working for me, so you’ve got your area supervisor working trying to get people to work for you, but I get out there, too, to try to bring ‘em in,” Smith said.

“So you’ve been doing some recruiting, it sounds like?” Huddleston asked Smith.

“Yeah, I think all of us have. I think all of us, the managers have. If they (know) someone they feel like could do that to fill the situation,” Smith said. “I’m trying to rebuild a team now that will stick with me through the presidential election, so I think I’ve got some really great people that’s going to work for me now.”

It’s all part of the mission to make sure everyone who wants to can take part in the process of voting.

“It is so important that they go out and vote because then you can’t complain about the results and ‘Why this is happening or why that is happening?’ because you had an opportunity to be a part of the process,” Bussey said.

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