n Registrar of Voters on Top of
The editorial “Some Simple Suggestions” (Nov. 2) offers several suggestions to help the Registrar of Voters recruit election officers to volunteer at the polls.
It is important to note that many of the strategies mentioned are already part of the Registrar of Voters’ existing recruitment process. I appreciate the time and consideration put into these suggestions. Recognizing that there is room for improvement in any process, the Registrar’s Office welcomes all community feedback. We are always striving to find new and better ways to meet the myriad challenges of election administration.
At the same time, I feel compelled to clarify a number of issues raised by the editorial. The editorial suggests that more people would volunteer if they were allowed to work partial days and guaranteed a spot in their home precincts. Election officers are already allowed to volunteer for partial shifts to accommodate their personal schedules.
In the upcoming election, approximately 450 election officers will work half days. Also, the vast majority of election officers are placed either in their home precincts or, if that precinct board is full, in a neighboring precinct. Volunteers are not placed in another city or even “across town” without their permission. Even then, volunteers are only moved out of their local areas when those precincts are already fully staffed.
The editorial also suggests various venues for recruiting election officers. Our office routinely recruits election officers at community outreach events. In the last 12 months staff has participated in 127 events, many of which target communities mentioned in the editorial, including senior centers and housing complexes, high schools, universities, community colleges and the Gilroy Rotary.
Approximately 444 high school students have volunteered to help with this election. Election officers are also recruited through listings in the unemployment office, The registrar’s office is always looking for ways to expand its outreach and recruitment efforts to target the many diverse communities within the county. On a final note, there were some statistics in the editorial that may have been misleading. The stipend earned by election officers is not twice the minimum wage.
Volunteers earn $105 for serving 15 hours on Election Day and attending a three and a half hour training class. That averages $5.83 per hour. The minimum wage in California is $6.75. The editorial also mentioned that the county is short 300 election officers for the November election. This data is old. Most of the precinct boards have been filled.
For Nov. 8, the county will have 844 polling precincts. The number of poll workers needed is 4,274. Of that number, less than 2 percent, or 78 county employees volunteered to serve this election. Our preference is to utilize citizens. However, if we have difficulty securing enough bilingual pollworkers, county employees with such skills are often sought out to fill the gaps
The cost to the county would be the same as if the employee used vacation or personal leave for volunteer services. Again, I would like to thank the Gilroy Dispatch for the suggestions, as well as the support the paper has shown through its coverage of the election and election officer recruitment.
Jesse Durazo, Registrar of Voters