Monroe County needs poll workers: “I’ve gotten to be such good friends with somebody in another party!”

Last Thursday’s meeting of the Monroe County election board included at least one newsy item: Election workers are still needed for the May 3, 2022 primary elections.

Monroe County election supervisor Karen Wheeler. (B Square file photo from Jan. 5, 2022, the first day of candidate filings)

Early in-person voting starts on April 5, which is just four weeks away. That makes the need to get enough workers on board somewhat urgent. They are paid $14 an hour.

The update on election workers was delivered by Monroe County election supervisor Karen Wheeler.

Here’s how she put it: “The Democrats and the Republicans are both scrambling trying to get people in. Usually, the Democrats have plenty of workers, but at this point, they don’t—meaning they also need people as well as the Republicans.”

Every aspect of election work has to be partisan balanced, down to the granular details. Every time a ballot is touched, a Republican and a Democrat have to be a part of the process. Whenever she talks about that, Wheeler will use shorthand: “You have to have a D and an R for every step.”

Election workers who staff the in-person early voting polls this year will be part of an historic first: The first use of the former NAPA building at the corner of 3rd and Walnut streets as a polling location.

The currently vacant building, which is owned by the Monroe County Convention Center Building Corporation, is being converted for use as a location for election operations.

A Thursday’s board of election meeting, part of Wheeler’s election worker recruitment pitch included a social benefit. “It’s amazing how well it works with the bipartisanship. People are always saying, once they get past kind of the shock, Oh, my gosh, I’ve gotten to be such good friends with somebody in another party!” Wheeler said.

She continued, “And I know that sounds kind of trivial, but it’s really true. We kind of stick to our own kind of people sometimes. And this gets you out politically—but we don’t talk politics—and it just really works amazingly well.”

For basic background on pay and election worker requirements, the county election division has set up a webpage: web page for poll workers.

The contact phone number for prospective election workers is 812-349-2690. Email messages can be sent to