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Poll workers upset because of consent form

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CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

Some poll workers are finding out they may not be able to work the election Tuesday unless they sign a form consenting to things like a criminal background check, drug testing and possibly even a physical exam.

One worker says some of these requirements, like submitting her driving record, have nothing to do with her job as a poll worker.

On top of that, the letter says the workers must submit the signed form by November 8th, but many were told they would not be allowed to work the election on November 5th without it.

"It's absurd. It's absolutely absurd," said Charlotte Weitz, who has been a poll worker in Chatham County for more than 7 years.

When she recently received a letter in the mail asking her to sign a consent form, she was astounded.

"I am not going to sign it. Mostly for general principal. It's an invasion of my privacy, I think," said Weitz. "I know these are hypothetical things that I may never be asked, but why would I sign a document saying you could do it. "

Weitz is also upset that she wasnt given proper notice that the form needed to be turned in early if she was going to be allowed to work in Tuesday's election.

"Evidently they've changed their minds, and they've given me no written notice saying that they've changed their mind and that you have to return it before the 8th," said Weitz.  

Joseph Steffen, chairman of the Board of Elections, says poll workers are considered to be temporary employees and the consent form that was sent out is the exact same form used for other Chatham County employees. However, Steffen says some of the things on the form will most likely never be asked of a poll worker.

"It goes back to we used the county form," said Steffen. "Going back and revisiting this, and going forward, we might change our waiver to be more specific to the tasks done by our workers. I can assure everyone that the idea of getting driving records or exams is just not going to happen for the average poll worker."

Steffen says the main purpose of the consent form was to get permission to do background checks.

"Most of the larger jurisdictions do that now, and we are a large jurisiditon," said Steffen. "Georgia, as a state, is becoming more the center of potential national implications in elections, and we don't want to go down the same road Florida did when it gets busy here."

As for the discrepency of when poll workers need to turn this form in, Steffen says the answer is simple. If you want to work this election, just come by the office and sign the form.

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