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News :: Finding enough poll workers can be a challenge for Auditor's Office
· 10:51am June 7th, 2010
A total of 57 people will show up for the one-day job at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning, and work all day and most of the night. They can't leave the work site until 10 or 10:30 p.m.
That's the routine for those who choose the work of a Benton County election worker.
Benton County Auditor Jill Marlow said that it is becoming more difficult to find poll workers.
Under Iowa law, the county cannot hire those who are registered Independents. In order to ensure fairness, the county must hire an equal number of registered Republicans and Democrats to work the polls in each township.
"A lot more people are registering as Independents," said Marlow.
In some elections, the spots fill up quickly. But for Tuesday's primary election, Marlow said it was difficult to find enough workers.
The pay for the work is quite good: $250 per day for the workers; $325 for the poll supervisors.
But the days are long. Workers must arrive an hour before the polls open and stay an hour or more after the polls close. They cannot leave for lunch. Also, state law — along with the constantly changing election technology — requires training for poll workers.
Election clerk Gina Edler has been teaching those classes. She taught the last ones on Saturday in the GIS room while upstairs, the Auditor's Office was open for absentee balloting while the staff counted ballots to send to each precinct.
The training covers the voting machines, as well as the guidelines for making sure only registered voters cast ballots in the precinct where they live.
The number of poll workers depends on which election the auditor's office is organizing. A primary election uses three workers per precinct. A general election, especially in a presidential election year, will require more workers because of the higher voter turnout.
Marlow is compiling a list of those who are interested in working as election poll workers in future elections. Anyone interested can call her office at 319-472-2365.
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