Olentangy Valley News

Board of elections urges residents to work polls

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The Delaware County Board of Elections is enlisting the help of local municipalities to recruit poll workers for the Nov. 5 election.

The first appeal was made to the city of Powell during the June 25 City Council meeting. Liberty and Orange townships are next on the agenda.

"The growth in Powell has posed a challenge for us at the board of elections," said Bronwen Evener, an election services manager for the board. "In the past few years, we have found ourselves having to go outside of your city to staff the polls in your community."

Of the 143 voting precincts in Delaware County, 10 are located in Powell. According to board of elections records, more than 50 volunteers are needed on Election Day to staff Powell's six voting locations, but one-third of those poll workers travel from outside the city.

Ross McDonald, also an election services manager with the board, said he hopes a partnership with Powell will result in voting locations being staffed completely by residents.

"This is really Powell's election," he said. "This is where your local-level officials are being elected."

During the November election, Powell voters can determine who will fill the seats of six elected officials with terms that are set to expire at the end of the year. The seats of City Council members Tom Counts, Sara Marie Brenner, Brian Lorenz and Jim Hrivnak will be up for grabs, along with the positions of Olentangy school board members Dave King and Julie Wagner Feasel.

Voters also may have to decide on whether to approve the creation of a Joint Economic Development Zone with Liberty Township.

Although the outcome of the Nov. 5 election will affect Powell voters directly, McDonald said local elections are the most difficult to recruit workers for. He said it's much easier to entice workers during presidential and gubernatorial elections, which is why the board is reaching out to Powell for help this year.

"We're here tonight to show you that we have a vision, and our vision includes you -- and we'd like to change the way we recruit," said board of elections Director Karla Herron. "We don't like begging people to work at the polls -- we want it to be an honor and respectful and we need your help in that."

Board of elections staff offered suggestions to council as to how to get more residents involved. They included sharing application information through social media, emails and newsletters. McDonald also asked if council would agree to post informational signs in city offices.

"I don't see a problem with any of the proposals you've suggested," said Powell Mayor Rich Cline. "We know how important it is to have good poll workers because we rely on them when we go to the voters every four years to get elected, so we appreciate the work that you do."

Powell Public Information Officer Megan Canavan said she plans to support the board of elections by posting poll worker information to the city's Facebook and Twitter accounts, including it in e-newsletters and linking it on the city's website.

Poll workers earn a starting base pay of $120 for a shift that runs from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. All workers are required to attend training sessions and receive compensation of $10 per hour during the training.

Applicants must be registered to vote in Delaware County, but high school seniors who are 17 years old and not eligible to vote are an exception to the rule.

For more information about becoming an elections official and to apply for a position, visit www.co.delaware. oh.us/boe/peo.html.

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