Poll worker pay wage to double

USI Shield Staff

The pay rate may double for Vanderburgh County election poll workers who presently make below minimum wage.

Vanderburgh County Clerk Debbie Stucki said the county election board struggles to fill the 206 positions because of low pay and extended hours.

“There’s always somebody that doesn’t show up,” Stucki said.

County commissioners unanimously approved increasing the hourly rates to $12 for judges and clerks, $13.35 for lead judges and $17.32 for lead inspectors, which are
converted into a per diem or daily basis.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. but workers come in an hour before to set up and stay an hour after to tear down, which adds up to 14 days.

In order for a poll to open a democrat and a republican must fill each position.

Chairmen of the Vanderburgh County Democratic and Republican Parties Rob Faulkner and Wayne Parke told the three-man council there is a serious problem
securing and retaining poll workers.

“They actually get paid on a per diem basis,” Parke said. “When you divide the hours into the amount per hour, they are getting about $6 an hour.”

Minimum wage for Hoosiers is currently $7.25 an hour.

Parke said the county election board unanimously supported a pay increase.

Inspectors are paid $110 a day, lead judges $80 and judges and clerks $70 with each worker receiving $20 for training. This also includes $10 for lunch.

“Every coworker should attend training in order to be proficient at the polls,” Stucki said. “There is a suggested increase from $20 per hour to $40 per hour.”

The entire collection increase, between 16 county poll centers, would be $17,200.

Therefore, annual city elections costs would grow to $28,240 and county costs for midterm and presidential election years would increase to $39,280.

For funding approval, Stucki, Faulkner and Parke will have to go before the Vanderburgh County Council and Evansville City Council with their request.
County commissioner Joe Kiefer said he agrees “totally” with the wage increase.

“I have seen it. I’ve been out at the polls,” Kiefer said. “I know it’s very difficult and I for one wouldn’t want to be spending the whole day out there, other than just doing it as a voluntary service, but we’ve already seen that it’s not working.”