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County employees can be poll workers

LISBON — Columbiana County commissioners have given officeholders and other department heads permission to let their employees serve as poll workers in the May 8 election.

The action taken at Wednesday’s board was at the request of the county elections board, which is having trouble finding enough people to serve as backup poll workers.

Commissioner Mike Halleck pointed out they are permitted by law to pass a resolution allowing county employees to serve as poll workers without having to take the day off, but it is still up to their bosses to give them permission to do so.

Commissioner Jim Hoppel voted with Halleck to pass the resolution (Commissioner Tim Ginter was off) but he had reservations about county employees being allowed to collect their regular pay while also being compensated for working as a poll worker.

“I’m concerned they are getting paid double but only working one place,” Hoppel said.

Poll workers are paid $101 for a 14-hour day, with the presiding judge receiving $120 and mileage for delivering the voting results to the elections board.

Halleck shared the same concern but pointed out those who offer to serve as poll workers are required to attend training sessions on their own time.

“I know they are having a rough time getting poll workers, especially when they have countywide elections, and this might help solve the problem,” Hoppel said, before voting in favor.

Halleck said the resolution applies only to the May 8 election, which means commissioners would have to approve it prior to each election.

Approximately 348 trained poll workers are needed to staff the 87 polling places in the county, with another 50 to 60 needed to serve as spares should someone call off sick or be out of town on election day.

Elections board Director Adam Booth mailed letters on March 29 asking local governments to consider allowing their workers to serve as poll workers. Teachers are the only class of public employees not allowed to receive paid time off to serve as poll workers.

In related news, commissioners made part of the record a letter from the elections board declaring that should some local government want to hold a countywide special election in August the cost would be $77,760. The elections board is required to do this prior to the primary election.

Commissioners took no action on a state liquor permit being sought by the Homeworth General Store in Homeworth. Commissioners are required to request a hearing before the state liquor control board if there are any objections, but the Knox Township trustees did not object to the permit.

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