Bipartisan Bill Seeks $100 Raise for NJ Pollworkers

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A new bipartisan bill in New Jersey would use state funds to dramatically increase pollworker pay, both in an effort to attract new workers and to reward those already serving. NJ 101.5 has more:

Poll workers in New Jersey would get a 50% raise, their first in 18 years, under newly proposed legislation that would compel the state to spend more than $5 million more a year running elections.

They are currently paid $200 per election, with the state paying $125 of that. A bipartisan bill seeks to increase that to $300 and would require the state government, not counties, to pay the additional $100.

“I see the poll workers in every election, whether it’s a special election, whether it’s a normal election, primaries or in the general, and they work from 5:30 in the morning when they have to be there starting at 6. And they don’t close down until 8:30, 9 o’clock at night,” said Assemblyman Rob Karibinchak, D-Middlesex.

“And for the amount of money that is given to them for a huge amount of time that they have to spend there, I think that they deserve a little bit more,” he said.

The bill, A5726, is also sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin Rooney, R-Bergen, and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, D-Bergen. Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli, D-Mercer, is a co-sponsor.

Karibinchak said the pay increase could help address the challenge of finding poll workers, which he said can be in short supply.

“And it depends on how many polling places that there are in every town. Some have up to 20 different polling places in a town,” he said. “Again, it’s the time that they spend. It’s the time.”

Poll workers last got a raise in 2001, when their pay went from $75 a day to $200. The state spends roughly $7 million a year to cover that increase.

A fiscal note for the new bill isn’t out yet, but it’s reasonable to project that an additional $100 per diem would cost the state at least $5.5 million annually.

This bill is obviously encouraging news for pollworkers in New Jersey, but it remains to be seen if there is more widespread support  – and available funding – to cover the proposed increase. If it passes, however, it will mean a substantial raise for the women and men who help the Garden State’s elections go. Stay tuned …

1 Comment on "Bipartisan Bill Seeks $100 Raise for NJ Pollworkers"

  1. As a diligent 7+ year poll worker, serving the county of Union,NJ., we report at 5 a.m-5:15a.m. as requested. This time is used for setup and display of all materials as well as post our U.S. flag. Most are tedious tasks but are each very specific in time and placement and must be done properly before we open the polls. We often have unannounced visits by candidates, challengers, county supervisors and U.S. Government representatives, who check to make sure everything is properly in place for the voter. These tasks are all repeated at the end of the night and all votes, voting devices, and papers are all properly stored in their appropriate bags when the polls close and we pack up. This could be anytime after 8:30, sometimes 9p.m. when all is completed. Then there is an appointed courier who is one of the poll workers from each district who is entrusted to pickup and return the bags to the City clerks office immediately.

    I am not going to say that an $100 pay increase in our wages would make our job easier, I’m only go to say that it would truly show me that we are greatly appreciated for our time, dedication and professiinalism in performing our services during election process time.

    I have also relayed my concerns to the office of my state General Assembly member James Kennedy.

    Thank you.

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