Chesterton Tribune

 

 

County Clerk clarifies poll worker pay raise for inspectors

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By LILY REX

Board member Jeff Chidester sought answers at yesterday’s Porter County Election Board meeting on how inspectors will be paid for working the polls.

The Porter County Council approved significant pay increases for all poll workers earlier this year following problems with the November 2018 election. Chidester reported, however, that several workers who signed up to be inspectors have approached him thinking they would be paid $50 for each precinct they oversee on election day in addition to their per diem.

Porter County Clerk Jessica Bailey reported that isn’t the case, though the pay raise included a provision for inspectors to be paid for unexpectedly taking on extra precincts at a rate of $50 each. Inspectors who are assigned one location where they must oversee multiple precincts will not be paid $50 for each one. An inspector who’s asked to take on an extra precinct due to an absence on election day, for example, will be paid the extra $50.

Bailey said the confusion originates from the difference between local election boards and precincts. Plenty of polling locations are serving multiple precincts this election, as some were consolidated for just 2019 due to a lack of contested races in certain areas and associated expected voter turnout. This is business as usual for local elections.

Bailey noted that judges are being cross-trained to be more helpful to inspectors, and said inspectors won’t be overloaded because extra judges will be available at locations with multiple precincts.

Approvals

The Board approved polling locations for the 2019 general election. Assistant Elections Director Becky Rauch reported postcards have been sent to every voter whose polling place is different for the 2019 election. 244 workers will staff the 40 locations. Bailey also reported she had scheduled poll worker training. Those who worked in 2018 will be paid $25 to take a refresher course, and new poll workers will attend the full three-hour training session and be paid $50 for that time.

The Board also approved the 2019 general election ballots. They asked Bailey to notify them if changes are necessary and authorized her to make any further needed changes, as early voting starts before the next Board meeting.

Bailey reported the Towns of Kouts and Ogden Dunes gave notice they’re not interested in holding elections this cycle due to not having contested races. The Board approved not holding elections in those Towns.

Reports

Bailey reported she and Elections Director Sundae Schoon looked into software for online campaign finance reporting following a discussion at last month’s meeting.

After attending a webinar on the topic, Bailey said it looks like having online campaign finance reporting “will be hugely beneficial not only to the office, but also to the candidates and the PACS that submit reports.”

Bailey said the system features automated text messages and emails that will remind candidates when to report. The system can also track missed deadlines and impose late fees. Candidates who prefer a paper report can still fill one out and upload it as a PDF on what Bailey calls a “ very user friendly” platform.

The vendor Bailey and Schoon spoke with, Easy Campaign Finance Reports, is working on quoting a price for the software.

Rauch reported Elections Division staff have called and confirmed all 40 polling locations. Also, 18 nursing homes will be stops for the travel voting board this year. Staff have coordinated with the nursing homes to make sure residents who want to vote are registered.

So far, 45 people have requested absentee ballots. Absentee ballots are required per state law to be mailed-out by Saturday, and will be in the mail Friday, Rauch said.

Important Dates

Bailey made a reminder the candidate information session is Saturday, Oct. 5 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Administration Building, 155 Indiana Avenue, Valparaiso.

The last day to register to vote in the 2019 general election is Oct. 7, and early voting begins Oct. 8. There will be a public test of the election equipment Oct. 4.

 

 

Posted 9/20/2019

 
 
 
 

 

 

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