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Alabama poll workers to receive pay raise

Called the “front line defense” for elections, Alabama’s poll workers are receiving a pay raise from the state.

Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation providing a $50 pay increase for poll workers in all 67 counties.

The bill’s author, Rep. James Lomax (R-Huntsville), said the pay raise will help ensure elections across the state remain fully-staffed and ready to serve voters. 

“The men and women who work in almost 2,000 polling places across 67 counties provide an invaluable service to their fellow Alabamians, but despite working as long as 16 hours in a day, their pay has not been increased since 2006,” Lomax said.  

Secretary of State Wes Allen, the chief election official in Alabama, said he’s proud of the effort to further support frontline poll workers.

“As a former probate judge, I know firsthand how vital poll workers are to election administration in our state. Poll workers love our communities and work extremely hard,” Allen told Yellowhammer News. “This new law will assist in the retention of experienced poll workers and also to recruit new poll workers. I appreciate the leadership of Rep. James Lomax on this issue and thank Gov. Ivey for signing this bill into law.”

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Gov. Ivey said those who, “offer their time and talents to ensure the integrity of the electoral process truly are some of Alabama’s finest citizens.”

“While these men and women most definitely don’t serve their communities in this vital capacity for the money, it is still more than appropriate that we offer them greater compensation for their efforts, especially during these difficult economic times,” Ivey said. “I commend Rep. Lomax for making it a priority to reward these fine Alabamians and offer my sincerest gratitude to our election inspectors and clerks.”

Probate judges across the state reported a decrease in those willing to work the polls following the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Some counties have run advertisements encouraging citizens to serve and others have recruited high school students to work alongside veteran precinct workers, many of whom are retired seniors.

Madison County Probate Judge Frank Barger, who serves as the election administrator among other duties, commended Lomax for his efforts and said he witnesses firsthand the dedication that poll workers demonstrate each election season.

“Poll workers are the front line defense for ensuring our secure and well-run elections,” Barger said. “I am so pleased to see compensation increased statewide for our dedicated election workers.”

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Poll workers are required to be a registered voter in Alabama, registered to vote in that county, must attend a training session, and be at least 16 years of age. The application to become a poll worker is available on the Secretary of State’s website. 

“In order to make sure voting is quick, simple, and easy for every Alabamians who wants to participate, we must have a sufficient number of workers available,“ Lomax said. “That requires local officials to continually recruit and train new workers each election, and I am confident this pay increase will assist them in those efforts.”

Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270

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