SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Poll workers are the people responsible for helping protect democracy, and this year, Onondaga County had 800 to 900 working in a low turnout year.

Now, all eyes are focused on 2024.

“We’ve had a lot of discussions over the last four years about our democracy and about how it is precious, and it needs saving. Well, no one is walking through the door. We need you,” said Democratic Election Commissioner Dustin Czarny. “We need people who are willing to get up early, stay late, count the votes, and make sure every vote is counted.”

Czarny said 29-30% percent of Onondaga County voted in this year’s election. He expects 74-77% percent to vote in 2024. That means the board of elections will be looking for 1,100 poll workers.

“We train our poll site managers which are more experienced poll workers first,” Czarny said. “Then we get our regular poll workers in the summer.”

Poll workers are paid minimum wage. Most in the county are older and it’s been tougher to find younger workers.

“I would love younger people. You’re working from 5 a.m. To 10 p.m., it’s a long day. A lot of people have jobs they can’t get away from, family obligations,” Czarny said. “A lot of times the people that have the ability to do that are the older generation that have a little bit more free time.”

Election officials will be hand counting ballots for the next six weeks and then they will start taking poll worker applications. It’s just one more step on the long road to election day 2024.

If you’re interested in becoming a poll worker, click here.