Trenton – In an effort to ensure that poll workers are being compensated fairly and that polling places are adequately staffed, the Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senator James Beach and Senator Joe Cryan, which would raise the current pay rate for election workers.
“Each year on Election Day, our poll workers are tasked with ensuring that the day goes smoothly and efficiently as we cast our votes to elect our new local, state, and national representatives,” said Senator Beach (D-Burlington/Camden). “Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., but poll workers are oftentimes there much earlier and later than those times. The increased wages proposed for our poll workers is more reflective of the work they are tasked to do, including setting up and closing polls, signing in voters and helping them operate the machines.”
The bill, S-598, would increase the compensation of election workers from $200 per day to $400 per day or the state minimum wage, whichever is greater. The bill would also increase the amount the state reimburses counties for compensation of election workers to cover costs without increasing the counties’ current portion of poll worker’s pay, which is $75.
“The poll workers put in long days to make our elections function effectively so that every voter has the opportunity to participate in the democratic process,” said Senator Cryan (D-Union). “They should be compensated fairly for their service. It is difficult to recruit citizens to become poll workers, but this pay increase will be a great incentive to encourage citizens to take a more active role in our elections.”
Under the bill, election workers at school board elections that occur at times other than the general election would also receive an increased compensation, from $14.29 an hour to $19.64 an hour.
In addition, the legislation would appropriate $5 million to the Department of State to reimburse the counties for the costs of implementing the bill’s provisions.
The bill was approved by the Senate with a vote of 38-0.