Column: Poll workers get paid as much as $165, so sign up early

OK, Monroe County, the headline pretty much says it all. Read more about getting a gig as a poll worker at the Monroe County Election Central website.

Temporary driver’s license issued on Sept. 1, 2020. Registration to vote was accomplished with the same trip to the BMV. The deadline to register to vote for the Nov. 3 election is Oct. 5.

Working the polls is honest work for honest pay. Here in Monroe County Indiana, poll workers get paid up to $165 plus $25 for training. That’s for inspectors. The pay for clerks and judges is $135.

A bunch of workers will be needed for the Nov. 3 election this year—more than usual.

Why? The COVID-19 pandemic means there will be more mailed-in absentee ballots this year, even if no-excuse absentee voting has not been approved like it was for the primary.

Those mailed-in ballots have to stay in their envelopes until Election Day. Only then can they be opened. That takes a lot of hands, in a short span of time.

The usual crew of poll workers includes a lot of older folks. Precautions against COVID-19 are being taken at polling sites. But some regulars might not feel 100-percent confident about working the polls this year, given their age bracket’s higher risks connected to COVID-19 infection. That means others will need to step up.

The high interest in this year’s presidential race means that turnout is expected to be high.

Monroe County’s clerk Nicole Browne sent out a press release announcing that her office was celebrating National Poll Worker Recruitment Day today (Sept. 1).

This column would have be posted earlier in the day, if I had executed better on the advice that the election board has been giving at all of its recent meetings: Do everything as early as you can this year, to leave yourself and others plenty of time.

Another task that I didn’t complete at the earliest possible moment was registering to vote in the state of Indiana. This morning I headed off to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles office to swap out my South Dakota driver’s license for one from the Hoosier state. It turns out that a standard followup question at the BMV for a new licensee is: Would you like to register to vote? Yes! Yes, I did.

Anyhow, even if you have not done everything as early as possible so far, go ahead and do it now. Now will be better than later. That includes signing up as a poll worker.

If you’re not sure what working the polls is all about, you can start with some background reading on the Monroe County Election Central website. It’s my go-to source for all nuts-and-bolts election information.

Happy belated National Poll Worker Recruitment Day!

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