Over the last 52 years, election inspector Phillip Cote has been a staple in making sure Election Day runs as smoothly as possible in Warren County.

“It’s always something that needs to be done by someone, and it is sometimes difficult to find people to do it," Cote said.

Election boards across New York state are ramping up recruitment efforts for poll workers like Cote ahead of the 2024 elections.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand what the polling inspector does. So it’s difficult across the state to get the inspectors and to keep them year after year after year," says Warren County Board of Elections Republican Commissioner William VanNess.

Election workers have many jobs, including signing in and processing voters; helping voters if needed; and reporting results. Training and working hours are paid, but election days are long, sometimes more than 15 hours, and the pay varies by county.

“I think personally that the money is secondary. One of the very few obligations we have to be an American citizen is to vote. And I think we need people in the in the system to be able to allow that to happen," Cote said.

Cote adds not having enough election workers could limit the availability of voting locations, making the voting process longer.

“Any and every roadblock stops somebody. So we have to make it as simple, as easy, as convenient as possible for everyone," Cote said.