Elections Board Looking for Precinct Officials

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Members of the Wake County Board of Elections still have several precinct official positions to fill before the May 6 Primary Election.

Despite the vacancies, Elections Director Cherie Poucher said the board is ahead of schedule in filling positions in time for May.

At an elections board meeting in January, Elections Board Chair David Robinson and the other two members worked to fill the remaining vacant positions in the 210 precincts.

Robinson raised the question of what the board could do to attract more interest in these positions. Poucher and Deputy Director Gary Sims told the board that they are recruiting at job fairs and town events.

Sims said these vacancies are a national issue and could only guess why: working Election Day can amount to a 15-hour day, and precinct officials are only paid $175 to $270.

The board always has a back-up plan however; trained “emergency workers” are kept on standby in the event elections staff cannot fill a position or that a precinct official cannot make it to work.

The term “precinct official” refers to the appointed chief judges, judges, and assistants. Each precinct has one chief judge, two judges, and assistants as necessary. The chief judges and the judges can be from either political party or an unaffiliated voter. In the appointment of the chief judge, preference will be given to a member of the Governor’s party. In each precinct, only one official can come from outside of where they are registered to vote.

The chief judge is responsible for everything from setting up, assisting voters and crowd control to checking voter registration and handing out ballots.

All precinct officials, including volunteers, attend a required training and must be available during Election Day. All that is needed to become a precinct official is to be a registered voter who is not a candidate, related to a candidate, or a relative of another official serving in that precinct.

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