Workers needed to assist with upcoming elections

JAMES BEATY | Staff photoPittsburg County Election Board Secretary Tonya Barnes looks over some of the literature related to the need for election workers to assist in upcoming elections.

Wanted: More than a few good people to help work Pittsburg County elections.

Pittsburg County Election Board Secretary Tonya Barnes said the help is needed to ensure there are enough election officials to cover upcoming elections, including the November 9 election for the city of McAlester.

"As far as the pay, it's a long day for precinct officials," Barnes said — but she noted they are needed for only a few days a year.

"This is a good opportunity to serve the community; earn extra cash and fulfill a civic duty," Barnes said.

Positions needed include voting inspectors, clerks and judges to work voting precincts throughout the county on election days. Polls remain open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., with time also required to set up and take down equipment as well as to deliver results to the election board office in McAlester.

 Barnes said the Oklahoma State Election Board increased pay last year for all three positions.

"In 2020, an inspector's pay went from $97 to $110," Barnes said. Pay also increased for the judge's and clerk's positions, from $87 up to $100, she said.

Automatic pay increases were passed to cover the next eight years, in four-year cycles. In 2024, pay for inspectors increases to $125, while pay for election judges and clerks rises from $100 to  $115, Barnes said.

For the 2028 election, pay for judges is set to rise from $125 to $150, while pay for clerks and inspectors increases from $115 to $130.

Election officials hope  the pay raises will help convince some who were considering becoming precinct workers to go ahead and do so.

A training session is set for 9 a.m. on Oct. 21 in the Commissioners' Conference Room at the Pittsburg County Courthouse. Barnes said those who are interested should phone the Pittsburg County Election Board Office at 918-423-3877 and sign up ahead of time, or contact the election board online at pittsburgcounty@elections.ok.gov.

Barnes said there's not much depth in the current lineup if an election worker can't make it on election day.

"We have 41 precincts," Barnes said. "We barely have enough, if someone is sick."

Are any special qualifications required?

"You do have to be a registered voter in the county," Barnes said. To be old enough to register to vote, an applicant must be at least 18 years or age, or turn 18 before the next election — in this case, it's the Nov. 2 election for the city of McAlester.

Also, election workers can't hold elected offices under the law of the state, including seats on a city council or school board in the county, she said. Poll workers also can't be related to, or be employed by, a candidate for public office.

Polls on election days remain open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., with time also required to set up and take down equipment as well as to deliver results to the election board office in McAlester.

The Pittsburg County Election Board's address is 109 E. Carl Albert Parkway,  Room 101, McAlester, OK, 75401. Regular office hours are from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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