Shortage of Election Workers No Cause of Worry for Board of Elections

By J.D. WATSON | Jun 12, 2019

Toms River — Despite reports of a shortage of poll workers at least week’s elections in Ocean County, there are no issues or problems resulting from those shortages, according to the Ocean County Board of Elections.

“We did lose some workers, yes,” said Jason Varano, supervisor of the Ocean County Board of Elections. “Some call-outs, some workers were sick.”

Despite the shortages, reported to be in the hundreds, the elections were held without any hiccups. “There was no board worker shortage that caused an issue,” Varano said.

Poll sites on Long Beach Island were staffed adequately, he said.

Primary elections always run a little lower than general elections, Varano explained. “We usually lose some poll workers for the primaries. Public employees get the day off in general elections. For primaries, they don’t get the day off. It’s hard to ask someone to use a vacation day to work for an election.”

In addition, many board workers are retirees; some spend part of the year out of state, some move on permanently. Even so, the county was prepared, according to Varano.

“We were insulated for call-outs,” he said.

For this election the county had trained over 130 board workers, Varano explained.

“We had LBI pretty well seated. LBI had no issues. For instance, Harvey Cedars had three board workers. We would have liked four. Five, even better. But there were no issues.”

Varano said there are 413 districts covered by 215 polling locations in Ocean County. “Some polling locations cover three or four districts; some are stand-alone. All of the polling locations on LBI are stand-alone.”

According to the Ocean County Board of Elections website, they are in constant need of additional board workers in Ocean County, especially due to the increasing number of elections held each year. If there is an available position and a prospective poll worker is assigned to work, that person would be contacted prior to an election. That worker would also be notified of all dates, times and locations when board worker training classes are scheduled. Currently the salary for board workers is $200 per day and the hours are from 5:15 a.m. to 8 p.m. with an hour lunch break, for primary and general elections. They may also be needed to work school elections. Starting times vary for each school district and the hourly rate of pay is $10 per hour.

There are two upcoming special school elections in Ocean County, tentatively scheduled for Sep. 24 and Dec. 10, and the general election is scheduled for Nov. 5.

Varano said prospective board workers are trained in classes held in September and October. Workers are required to be retrained every two years.  —J.D.W.

 

 

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