Poll workers needed for fall election

Published 11:32 am Friday, August 6, 2010

It’s a chance to watch the political process up close and personal and get paid to boot.

That’s what it means to be a poll worker and if that job description sounds appealing, the Lawrence County Board of Elections wants you.

Right now, the elections board is looking for workers — 336 to be exact —for all of the county’s 84 precincts for the upcoming November general election.

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Both Cathy Overbeck, director and a Republican, and Eric Bradshaw, deputy director and a Democrat, have sent out requests to the central committee persons for their recommendations for poll workers. But anyone interested can come into the elections board office at the courthouse and apply.

“Anybody interested in becoming a poll workers can call the office and we will send out the forms or they can stop by,” Bradshaw said. “It can be anybody. You have to declare your party and have enough common sense to follow the rules.”

Each precinct must have four workers — two from each of the two major parties recognized in Ohio.

“And we also need standbys on election morning, willing to go at an instance,” Bradshaw said. “You are always short. People get sick.”

Workers make $101 for a day that starts at 6 a.m. and lasts until 8 p.m.

“Training is required and it is not hard,” Overbeck said.

“The hardest part is it is a very long day. (Duties) could be anything from tearing ballots off the pad, checking the registration list, writing names and addresses in the poll book,” she said.

“Workers get an hour break and they take turns. That way they can go vote in their home precinct.”

The training class lasts about a half-day and is offered at South Point, Chesapeake and Ironton. Workers are also paid for that.

“It’s on the rules and regulations on how to do voting from the simplest things to the complicated things,” Bradshaw said.

Right now the demographic of the current poll workers is over 55 years or under 20 years since high school students aged 17 can work at an election. If teens will be 18 years old by the time of the general election, they can work in the primary. If they are enrolled in the election board’s youth program, the 18-year-old requirement does not apply.

“The in-between people we don’t have a lot of,” he said. “The kids have been fantastic.”

Before she took over the reins at the board of elections, Overbeck spent three year as a poll worker, an experience she still cherishes.

“I loved it,” she said. “I like seeing the people in my community. I like the whole process. I like serving.”