Critical worker for the election speaking out expressing concerns about his role

Election 2020 Voting Problems voting booths voting vote
Posted at 1:48 AM, Oct 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 12:56:09-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Many are preparing for the presidential election that's less than two weeks away. A critical worker for the election is speaking out expressing concerns about his role.

He says he's tried to express his concerns with the election's office but hasn't been able to reach them.

23ABC reached out to the elections office about their response to his concerns.

"I have been getting any calls back and I have been calling down to there and have left a message at the Elections Commissions Office and nobody would call me back," said John Ahrens, a local poll worker.

Eighty-year-old John Ahrens is a poll worker at Saint Judes in Wofford Heights.

Ahrens says normally it's a smooth and positive experience, but this time around he says it's been challenging.

He says he just found out Tuesday that he was selected to be a poll worker and needed to attend a virtual training, but struggled to access it.

"I was able to do what they called a teams online session, but it was very difficult to do that because the instructions were not clear and I was able to get on to that, but I wasn't able to get on the training sessions," said Ahrens.

Ahrens says he hasn't received all of the necessary training and has not been able to communicate properly with the Election Commissions Office.

He says he also has health conditions and has concerns for the future.

In a statement to 23ABC, the Registrar of Voters, Mary Bedard responded with a statement saying in part:

"There may have been some technical issues with some poll workers accessing the teams training, but the staff have worked to resolve those. We are still recruiting poll workers so that we have a reserve to replace volunteers dropping out."

Dropping out is something Ahrens says he's considered because of the technical difficulties and his health concerns.

"I haven't been able to get any more information on what I can and can't do which is frustrating for me, I don't want to quit but I am 80-years-old and don't want to get COVID."

We asked Bedard the best way for people with technical issues to contact the Election's Office and have not heard back.

They are still accepting poll worker volunteers up until election day. Check here to apply.