Officials of the Delaware County Board of Elections are seeking to recruit several hundred people to work the polls for the November election.
When there are lots of workers on Election Day, the result is “shorter lines,” said Karla Herron, director of the Delaware County Board of Elections.
Officials are predicting a large turnout of voters in November. “During the last presidential election, Delaware County had the highest percentage of turnout in the state,” Herron said.
Knowing that, “We recruit for a higher quantity (of people) in Delaware County,” said Ali Solove, poll worker coordinator and public outreach for the county Board of Elections.
Poll workers are paid for their service. “The average base pay for a worker is $150 for the day,” Solove said.
According to Solove and Herron, the board has an average of 850 regular poll workers who are always willing to work the polls. “We have people who have been doing this for years,” Herron said. “Those that sign up love it and want to come back.”
Workers who leave the area for the winter and might not make it back in time for the primary in the spring will say, “Hold me for November; I want to work,” Solove said. “Once they do it, they are hooked.”
However, workers retire or move away from the area, creating some turnover. Looking for ways to replenish numbers, board officials have met with charitable organizations. “We met with the Rotary Club in January this year about working the polls as a fundraiser,” Herron said. The idea? Members of the organization could work the polls, then donate their earnings to the organization, she said.
Delaware County sponsors a program called “Delaware for Democracy.” The program allows county employees to work the polls on Election Day, instead of their normal jobs. “It’s a win-win,” Herron said.
Herron says that some major companies — such as AEP — will encourage their employees to work the polls as if it’s a paid day off.
Board officials will recruit high school seniors who have turned 17 years old to help at the polls. In the second week of August, they send out packets to area high schools, asking for seniors’ help. “We’re predicting about 150 high school seniors will volunteer to work the polls for the November election,” Solove said.
As for turning away volunteers if they have more than needed, it won’t happen. “We don’t usually turn anyone away,” Herron said.
If you’re interested in being a poll worker, the minimum requirement is being 17 and a high school senior.
Volunteer forms can be obtained online at www.co.delaware.oh.us/boe/files/PEOapplication.pdf
For questions, contact the Delaware County Board of Elections, 2079 U.S. 23, Delaware OH 43015, by phone at 740-833-2080, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.