$200 for the day — NJ needs you to work the polls
Counties across the Garden State are in need of poll workers for the upcoming November 2 general election and the in-person early voting period scheduled for late October.
Training is required, and paid training ($30) will be provided to those who land the job. The pay is at least $200 on Election Day, and $14.29 per hour for those who work on early voting days.
"Serving as a poll worker is an opportunity to earn a little money while providing an important public service to your community and your state," said Secretary of State Tahesha Way.
If you're at least 16 years old, you're encouraged to apply — you need to work in the county where you live.
To apply, answer a few questions about yourself and your availability on the New Jersey Division of Elections website. Your application will then be sent to the necessary county board of elections.
"We're still considerably short in Union County," Nicole DiRado, administrator of the county's board of elections, told New Jersey 101.5.
The county's early voting sites are fully staffed — the period runs from Oct. 23 to Oct. 31 — but more workers are needed for Election Day. DiRado said the pay, which has essentially remained unchanged for decades, may not be attractive enough for possible applicants.
"Two-hundred dollars for 15 hours is not worth it for a lot of poll workers anymore, especially with all of the extra work that comes along with being a poll worker as our technology has evolved," DiRrado said.
Electronic poll books are being rolled out statewide for the gubernatorial election.
Issues with pay may be even greater this fall, DiRado noted, because people who worked the primary in June were awarded a $200 bonus as the result of a law enacted to address a worker shortage.
"Poll workers were paid $400 in the primary," DiRado said. "Would you come back for two?"
In late June, the New Jersey Senate approved a measure that would raise poll workers' Election Day pay to $400 or the state's minimum wage, whichever is greater. Pay for training would increase to $50.
"I'm still holding out hope," DiRado said.
A measure in the Assembly, which seeks to raise Election Day pay to $300, has not been considered.
The Camden County Board of Elections is putting out an extra $75, for a total of $275, for those who work on Election Day.