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Fayette needs poll workers

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Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, 12:46 a.m.

The Fayette County Election Bureau is still looking for people willing to work the polls during the general election on Tuesday.

“We are in desperate need of poll workers,” said Cheryl Karol, Election Bureau clerk. “We aren't area specific. You don't have to be from the polling area to work.”

Karol said that while workers are needed across the county, they are more needed in certain areas.

“All I have at Saltlick 3 is a judge,” Karol said of the poll site located in the Saltlick Township municipal building. “This is going to be a quiet election. It's projected to be quiet, so I would be OK with two inspectors and a judge, but we can't get people.”

Karol said the Election Bureau had a fair number of workers for past elections, but the last few have been down because regular workers are getting too old or sick.

Specific areas of need are reportedly Bullskin, Springfield, German, Springhill and Masontown.

“You don't have to be from that area if you are willing to help at the polls,” said Larry Blosser, Fayette Election Bureau director. “We don't expect you to drive to Bear Rocks if you are from Brownsville, unless of course you want to. We don't expect someone to drive far.”

There are classes required for judge, inspector and clerk posts at the polls and they are being offered at the Election Bureau.

Blosser teaches the classes and said they will be offered through close of business at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

“We always need poll workers for every election,” Blosser said. “If you are interested in helping, you can give us a call, and if there is not somewhere in your area that we need workers for this election, we can put you on a list for the next election.”

Those interested in working must take the brief class, then if assigned to a polling site, arrive about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday to get ready for the election.

“We like to have everyone setting up by 6:30, to be up and running by 7,” Blosser said.

The duties of the different positions vary from site to site and are determined by things such as amount of absentee vote.

“The judge is in charge and will tell them what she needs at each polling location,” Karol said. “It's best to have one person in charge. It always works out best that way.”

Pay for the positions also varies with the duties. Base pays are approximately $100 for judge, $85 for inspector and $70 for clerk.

The shortage of workers is not something just being experienced in Fayette.

The nationwide average age of a poll worker is 72.

More than 500,000 poll workers are needed nationwide for what many consider a long day for little pay.

“It's a pretty thankless job, but we really appreciate all of our workers,” Karol said. “We appreciate every single person who wants to help us.”

The requirements are minimal to take part in the polling site openings, too.

“You only need two requirements to work the polls,” Blosser said. “One, you need to be a warm body that I can put in a seat, and two, you need to be a registered voter in Fayette County.”

Anyone interested in helping at the polls is asked to contact the Fayette County Election Bureau at 724-430-1289.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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