Bremen, for example, has only managed to recruit 2,000 of the 2,650 necessary personnel it will need to run its voting stations on September 27, the city's election office said. The Bavarian capital of Munich has just 75 percent of the 6,000 poll workers it needs.
Cologne still needs to recruit at least 1,000 volunteers and Berlin has only 70 percent of the workers it needs.
Election officials report that sagging interest in the election has contributed to the poll worker shortage, though the €21 honorarium that the volunteers receive may also be insufficient.
Theoretically, German communities have the power to draft poll workers though that might result in election day chaos if thousands of inexperienced and unmotivated citizens are manning the voting sites.
For its part, the city of Cologne is hoping that the growing numbers of unemployed citizens may save the city's election. It is recruiting those on the dole with the promise of a little extra income.