GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – With early voting scheduled to begin next week, only a few counties need to find poll workers to fill those shifts. But the full primary on May 17? Well, that could be a different story.

Officials in Alleghany County, Caswell County and Randolph County said they need a few workers for the nearly daily hours of early voting, which starts on April 28 and includes some weekend days right up until primary day.

Privacy screens in a voting precinct. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Because less-populous counties have only one site for early voting, their needs are typically met, but the more populated areas have several and require dozens of workers. Guilford County, for instance, uses about 300 for early voting, although Elections Director Charlie Collicutt said all slots have been filed.

Early voting is open in Alleghany County and Caswell County from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. every day but weekends from April 28 to May 13 and then 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 14.

Randolph County will have four locations open 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekdays from April 28 to May 13, and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on May 1 and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 14. Randolph will be closed on April 30 and May 7-8.

For early voting, Alleghany County officials say they need 5 or 10 workers (although exactly how many they need wasn’t specified). Randolph County needs three or four workers out of the 65 used, and Caswell County needs only a couple to fill its shifts.

A survey of election officials across the 14 counties in the Piedmont Triad does not include needs in Stokes, Surry and Yadkin counties. Elections leaders in those counties did not respond to numerous emails asking for numbers and gaps.

About poll workers

Poll workers are mostly volunteers who go through required training. The more experienced get supervisory roles and higher pay. The NC Board of Education stipulates that election officials must be registered voters who reside in the precinct where they want to serve. Some high school students at least 17 years old also can be workers.

Precinct officials “may not be a candidate or relative of a candidate in the election. They also may not be an elected government official, hold office with a political party, or be a manager or treasurer for a candidate or political party. They also may not serve at the same polling place as a spouse, child, spouse of a child, sister, or brother.”

Poll workers are paid, and the ranges vary significantly by county and role, from about $12 an hour, including payment for training sessions, up to as much as $250 for “top judges” in the precincts.

Needs for May 17

And the survey of election officials showed there remains a need for poll workers during the 13 hours the doors will be open, from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., on May 17. But the hours for poll workers extend before and after the times that doors are open.

Some officials said they don’t yet have a full handle on what those needs would be, but thousands are required across the 14 counties to handle the lines and certify the ballots.

The biggest need known as of today is in Alamance County, where there remain 75 openings in the 450 positions scattered across the county. Wilkes County needs about a dozen, and Alleghany County needs 5 or 10. Elections officials in Caswell and Davidson County specified precincts where volunteers are needed.

The primary

Absentee voting has been underway, but Friday is the last day for most people to register to vote in the Primary Election, when nominations for the U.S. Senate and some seats for Congress will dominate. There are a few primaries for the General Assembly and for state courts, including Supreme Court. Other counties have various contested races. All but one district on Greensboro City Council and the mayor’s race are on the ballot.

Some candidates who filed in late February and early March were elected by default, mostly because of the lack of an opponent unless there is a write-in on Nov. 8. To win a primary, a candidate must win at least 30% plus one vote of all those cast. Failing that, there would be a runoff on July 26. That’s also when the General Election will be held for Greensboro mayor and City Council.