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Polling officials

Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill leads a training class for polling officials on Oct. 28, 2015. The county board of supervisors on Tuesday approved a $2 to 3 per hour pay raise to help attract more poll workers for the Nov. 8 general election.

People likely have noticed that poll workers in many Siouxland election spots are a typically elderly group. They put in long days because they like to be part of the election process and some do it to make a few extra bucks.

Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill on Tuesday warned the county supervisors that he is having problems lining up workers for the big Nov. 8 election in which a president, U.S. senator, U.S. House member and slate of other candidates will be picked for terms beginning in 2017.

Gill, the county's chief election official, said he would soon bring a proposal to pay the workers more than the typical $8-$9 per hour wage and perhaps split shifts into two over the day. He'll crunch numbers to see how much more that could cost to run the election over many county precincts.

Iowa polls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., longer than the adjacent states of Nebraska and South Dakota. Gill said precinct election officials have typically worked from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Hearing of the 16-hour shift, County Board Chairman Jeremy Taylor joked that is it hard to believe that people aren't flocking to work that long day.

Gill said he's going to have to seek new ways to recruit poll workers. He has not gotten enough from the typical method of getting names of possible people from the county Republican and Democratic parties.

"We are vastly short," Gill said.

Note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said poll workers currently get time-and-a-half pay for time worked above eight hours. Moving to that level of pay is something Gill is considering proposing.


County and education reporter

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