The job is fairly simple. Greet the voters, take their identification, match it to the information on the computer, and give them a ballot. Perhaps that may be oversimplified, but the concept is accurate. However, there is a shortage of poll workers who can fill these roles and area counties including Winnebago are looking for help.
KIOW News Director A. J. Taylor recently sat in as one of the poll workers and found the work simple and rewarding. Essentially you are filling a Constitutional duty in the voting process and helping your neighbors at the same time. While the day looks to be long, amounting to a 14 hour day, it seemingly flies by.
The position begins with a 2-hour training session at the courthouse or designated location. The training is thorough going over a number of scenarios, ballots, computer set-ups and operations, and forms of identification. What is remarkable in the two-hour session is the amount of information and the ease in which it is presented. As an example, you learn the difference between provisional and actual ballots. In this case, a provisional ballot will only be counted when a voter can demonstrate their eligibility to vote. These ballots are kept with the Commissioner of Elections in the county until the voter can provide proof of eligibility. In the case of a mistake in voting by the voter on either an actual or provisional ballot, the poll worker can give the voter another ballot but must take the first ballot and mark it as spoiled. At the end of the day, every single ballot is counted, used or unused, to make sure all ballots are accounted for.
Computers can sometimes be daunting, especially for those who may not use them all of the time. However, the computers in use at the polls guide and prompt the poll worker step by step. The simple use of a mouse and specific keystroke commands makes the poll workers’ job easier and efficient. Programming on the computer is designed to search for matching identification and to make sure the voter is in the right precinct. If the voter is in the wrong location, it will assist in finding the right polling location for the voter.
Winnebago County currently pays $10 an hour for poll workers. Those who would be interested in taking one day away from their normal grind or are retired and looking for something to do with friends can contact the Winnebago County Auditors Office at (641) 585-3412. There are a number of positions open throughout the county which may be close to home.