For the second election cycle in a row, Logan County Clerk Peggy Fitzjurls has had trouble getting poll workers.
"I’ve had a little bit of a hard time again this year," Fitzjurls said last week on the eve of the opening of early voting for the Tuesday, May 20 party primary and non-partisan judicial election. Early voting opened Monday.
Fitzjurls said part of the problem was getting people to commit to the training now required and the other part was personal issues such as illness and vacation, which prevent some people from attending training sessions or working the polls on election day.
"All poll workers have to attend a training session now because of changes in the law," Fitzjurls said. "With vacations going on and people sick, we’re going to have to hold three training sessions in the county this year in order to get enough trained to work the polls."
The third training session will take place on Tuesday, May 13 at 10:30 a.m. at the Logan County Courthouse in Paris.
In order to man the polling places in the county on election day, Fitzjurls said she needs between 100 and 140 workers. They’ll work between 12 and 14 hours on election day for $100, which amounts to a little more than $7 to $8 an hour.
"A lot of working people can’t devote that many hours in one day, so we have to rely on retired people to man the polls," Fitjurls said.
The number of poll workers also differs between poling places, Fitjurls said. There are 20 polling places in the county.
"We’re supposed to have four poll workers at each polling place but we try to have five so someone can take a break," she said.
Some polling spots — such as Paris, Booneville and Magazine — will have more poll workers because multiple precincts vote in those locations, the County Clerk said.
In 2012 and this year, Fitzjurls had to replace 12 poll workers each year, she said.
Another reason poll workers have to be replaced is if they have a relative on the ballot.
Although acquiring poll workers is actually the responsibility of the Election Commission, Fitzjurls said her office is the one that gets called when a poll worker has to drop out.
"This year, I called the Election Commissioners and they’ve have been able to come up with some new poll workers," Fitzjurls said.
If you’d like to work the polls on election day, Fitzjurls said to call Elections Commissioners Ty Barham at 518-1934, Bill Garner at 206-0104 or Jason Davis at 438-5369 or her office at 963-2618.
"If we can’t use them, we can put their name on a list," Fitzjurls said.