The countywide Ad Hoc Elections Committee held its second meeting to discuss how it can inform voters about the best ways to vote in the upcoming election.
The committee meeting was held on Tuesday, August 21st, to follow up on the recommendations that were discussed at the first meeting.
The discussion of the meeting focused on poll workers and how to motivate more people to help the day of the election. Supervisor Ryan Kelley said that in the last meeting there was discussion about compensation of poll workers.
Kelley said that after talking with Register of Voters Debra Porter, he learned that poll workers get a stipend of just $65 for serving the entire day of the election. Kelley said that they need to adjust that so they have additional workers and possibly go to an hourly wage.
Porter said that poll workers hadn’t had a raise in over fifteen years. The elections department needs at least 300 poll workers to cover the 55 precincts countywide so it can be fully staffed the day of the election. Porter said that the Saturday before the June election they were 24 poll workers short and had to find people to come in at the last minute.
Ryan Kelly leads the meeting held by the election committee on Tuesday, August 21.
Photo Credit: Mario Conde
“We had all these people drop off, not understanding how important is that when you say you are going to work we are counting on you to work,” Porter said.
When asked if county employees could serve as poll workers, Porter said that they have tried that in the past but since the payment of their work would go directly to their paycheck instead of a separate stipend, they lost many employees that helped them in the past. The possibility of going to an hourly wage was also discussed but there was a concern that it could cause some overtime with some of the workers. Porter said that the reason they give stipends was to avoid overtime issues
Erik Reyes and Calexco Mayor Lewis Pacheco are getting ready for the meeting to begin.
Photo Credit: Mario Conde
Committee member Orlando Johnson suggested having Imperial Valley College students as poll workers, thinking they could have extra credit for their work. Porter said that they have used IVC students in past when Gayla Finnell was the political science teacher but said they will pay them as well.
The recommendation in the end was to raise the stipend to $100 to work as a poll worker. The issue will go to the county board of supervisors for consideration.
The Ad Hoc committee is composed of five representatives appointed by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors and city representatives. Board appointed members are Norma Aguilar, appointed by Supervisor John Renison; Pete Rodriguez, appointed by Supervisor Luis Plancarte; Orlando Johnson, appointed by Supervisor Mike Kelley; Eric Reyes, appointed by Supervisor Ryan Kelley; and Jerry Gauna, by Supervisor Ray Castillo. According to Supervisor Ryan Kelley, Kay Pricola will be an ex-officio member.
City representatives are Alma Benavides from Brawley; Calexico Mayor Lewis Pacheco; Jimmy Spellins from Calipatria; Diane Caldwell from El Centro; James Tucker from Imperial; and Justina Cruz from Westmorland. The City of Holtville does not have a representative as of yet.