KING COUNTY, Wash. - Hundreds of temporary staff were hired to work for King County Elections this presidential election.
Each of them has a unique story, including Daniel Hougardy, 19, who is a first-time voter in a presidential election and one of the youngest faces you will see at the headquarters in Renton.
“I’m the type of person who likes working behind the scenes. In high school for a year, I was in the drama club but then later I realized I’d rather be a stage hand, because as much as I like working on stage, I prefer working from the background. This job was very well-tailored for me,” said Hougardy, a 2019 graduate from Tukwila High School.
His main role involves verifying signatures on ballot envelopes. In a full work day, he’s scanned up to 4,500 signatures.
“Do I believe this person signed his name? Do I believe this is their envelope? Sometimes you have to have leeway of noting key characteristics. Do they write it in a very slant? Do they write it very small? Some people just print their name so you have to double check, okay do they typically print their name?” said Hougardy of his work process.
A spokesperson for King County Elections told Q13 News about 600 temporary staff were hired. The election workers are doing everything from picking up ballots, opening and processing ballots to answering questions coming in to customer service.
“Last week I was in the warehouse most of the time setting up voting centers that went out to Bellevue and CenturyLink,” said Hougardy, “This morning I was helping with opening. I was organizing the envelopes so we can store them. If there ever needs to be a recount, we can pull them up so it’s been a lot of fun.
Hougardy is already thinking about working the next election in 2021. He credits his family for his interest in politics.
“My mom is a council member for Tukwila City Council. It’s been fun because she comes home and talks about what she has to dealing with. I’ve been to the City Hall, and I get to see the workers and those are the people I’ve always found the most interesting,” said Hougardy.
Temporary election staff have been hired to work a 5 week stretch through the end of November.