Election worker shortage

Published 5:47 am Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Harlan County is coming up on another election year with many county offices on the ballot.

As always, election officers will be needed to perform the work of running the precinct sites on election day, but at this time there is a shortage of people to fill the needed positions.

Harlan County Clerk Donna Hoskins talked about the need for election officers.

According to Hoskins, there is a need for more election officers as voting procedures return to precincts rather than the smaller number of voting centers utilized at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In 2020, we had voting centers, we didn’t use the precincts, so we didn’t need as many election officers,” Hoskins said. “For the 2022 elections, we’re going back to the 32 precincts…this creates a need for at least 168 election officers.”

Hoskins explained requirements for the positions include being a registered voter. An equal number of Democrats and Republicans are required for the positions.

“We’ll need 84 Democrats and 84 Republicans,” Hoskins said. “It has to be equal.”

In addition to being a registered voter (either Republican or Democrat), there are additional requirements for election officers.

“They have to be a resident of Harlan County and be 18 years of age before the November, 2022, general election,” Hoskins said. “We will try to put them in the precinct where they live. Occasionally, we do have to move the workers around, but we do try to put them in the location where they are a registered voter.”

The election officers will be signing voters in, issuing the paper ballots to each individual and helping to make sure voters understand how to operate the voting equipment, Hoskins explained.

Election workers will also enjoy an increased pay rate, with the job’s compensation rate having been raised recently by the Harlan County Fiscal Court.

Participants will be paid $25 for attending training and $175 for election days.

“There will be a pay increase,” Hoskins confirmed. “We are grateful the Fiscal Court approved that for our election workers.”

Election workers will attend training commonly referred to as “election school,” which will occur before election day and take approximately an hour and a half to complete.

The election school is required of all election officers.

“It’s usually held two or three weeks before the actual election,” Hoskins said.

Election officers will work both the May primary and November general elections, putting in a long day for each election.

“Election day is not just 6 a.m. until 6 p.m.,” Hoskins said. “You’ve got to be there about 5 a.m. to set up and you could be there until 7 p.m., it’s a long day.”

For more information or to inquire about becoming an election officer, contact the Harlan County Clerk’s Office at 606-573-3636.