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Elections Board Needs Workers

Bill Rinehart

Hamilton County's Board of Elections director wants more poll workers for Election Day; and some of those workers could come from the senior classes at local high schools.

Director Sherry Poland says she encourages companies to give employees a paid day-off to work the polls.  Poland says the ideas aren't new.

“But we have just not had the resources to get these programs off the ground," Poland says. "And so what our board is considering is hiring two new full-time employees at the Board of Elections so that we can increase our recruitment, training, and assessment of our precinct election officials.”

Poland says right now, there are two full-time staff members and two seasonal employees who are responsible for hiring 2,700 poll workers for both the primary and general elections. She says in contrast, Cuyahoga and Franklin counties each have four full-time and eight seasonal employees.

The two new staff members would focus, in part, on recruiting more high school students to work at the polls.  Seniors who are 17 or 18 years old can participate through the Board’s Youth at the Booth program.

Poland says there were 125 students hired for polling locations last year; and she would like to get close to 400 this year.

“Students who have worked the polls in the past have received tremendous praise from their fellow adult precinct election officials,” Poland says.

Hamilton County Commissioners are expected to vote Wednesday on a resolution supporting the Partners in Democracy program.  That resolution will remind county workers they can take a paid day off to serve as precinct election officials.

“We are asking government agencies and local businesses to partner with us and give their employees a day for democracy, a day off of work with pay,” Poland says. 

The program extends to employees of other local government agencies as well.

Including training time, set up, and actually working at the polls, precinct election officials can earn anywhere from $181.50 to $218.