Election officials hope pay increase for poll workers helps fill open positions
Early voting in New Jersey is a little over two weeks away. To make this happen, it will take thousands of poll workers across the state - but some counties are struggling to find enough help.
“For $200, it’s just not sufficient given the level of responsibility,” says Robin Major, the administrator for the Monmouth County Board of Elections.
Major says that she is relieved that Gov. Phil Murphy is increasing the pay for poll workers this year to $300. It is an incentive for people to sign up.
“Before the increase we were short. We usually have 1,843 [poll workers.] We were down over 1,000,” Major says.
And this is only for Election Day. But with early voting this year, there are more spots to fill. The hourly rate for workers is also going up.
“There are nine days. It’s 10 days out, but it’s only nine days of voting. And for Atlantic County, we have six sites, so each site needs six people,” says Atlantic County Board of Elections chair Lynn Caterson.
Caterson says that she believes that the county will be able to fill the open spots. But getting everyone trained on the new equipment is also a factor.
Major and Caterson say that they are hoping the pay increase will stick.
“I am pleased. I do believe that it will motivate poll workers to come who were debating whether or not it was worth their time. And that’s all great and I’m very grateful for the governor, but it’s only this time. We need the Legislature to step up and make it permanent,” Caterson says.
Poll workers do not have to be registered to vote to work and they also do not have to live in the county where they are a poll worker.