GREENFIELD — The Hancock County Election Office has sent letters to thousands of local voters in hopes of finding Democrats to work the polls during the primary election.
State law requires polling sites to have equal representation from both the Republican and Democratic parties, but in years past the office has struggled to find Democrats to serve as poll workers, said Hancock County Clerk Marcia Moore.
During both the primary and general election, all 12 county vote centers will be open as voters decide federal, state and local offices, which means more poll workers will be needed than in 2015, when a lack of city elections meant many polling sites were closed.
A letter was sent out last week to more than 5,000 households as a way to raise awareness of the need for poll workers. For both the primary in May and the general election in November, the election office needs about 85 poll workers plus a number of people to work shifts during early voting. They need 40 to 45 Democrats to have equal representation.
Moore said the office is committed to having a bipartisan team work the polls.
Any registered Hancock County voter can serve as a poll worker. The stipend varies based on duties, but workers make between $9 and $12 an hour. If they work the full 12 hours of voting on Election Day, that can pay as much as $144.
Randy Johnson, who recently was selected to replace Phil Hunt as chairman of the Hancock County Democratic Party, said he plans to spread the word that Democrats are needed for poll work when the party meets this month.
He encourages party members who have the time to step up to ensure the party is well-represented.
“We want fairness and to ensure accountability,” he said. “As Hancock County residents, we need to be involved.”
Janice Jones, who works in the county’s election office, said it’s important to both the office and the local election board to have Democrats represent their party. Those interested in working during early voting, which will start about two weeks before both elections, or during the primary on May 3 and the general election on Nov. 8, should call Jones at 317-477-1171.
To be a poll worker, voters must attend a workshop to be trained.
Any registered voter in Hancock County can be a poll worker on Election Day.
The job pays between $9 and $12 an hour, and workers are needed for early voting and on May 3 and Nov. 8.
For more information, call Janice Jones in the Hancock County Election office at 317-477-1171.