County in need of poll workers for election

Published 10:41pm Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Lincoln County circuit clerk’s office needs nearly 200 public-spirited men and women to staff the polls in the upcoming June 3 primary and Nov. 4 general election.

Circuit Clerk Dustin Bairfield said about half of the poll worker quota can be covered by previous workers who come back to work each election, but there is a great need to fill the remaining positions.

“A lot of people really feel in their heart it is a civic duty,” Bairfield said, explaining the dedication brings veteran poll workers back over and over again. “Unfortunately, nowadays, people are so busy with both parents working in families,” he added. “Thank goodness for the people who are retired.

Bairfield also encouraged students to get involved as poll workers. “It’s very good for young people. It will open your eyes to the election process.” Bairfield also pointed out the historic nature of the June primary, which will be the first time the state has required voters to show a photo ID before voting.

The Mississippi state code requires Lincoln County to have a minimum of three workers at each of the county’s 31 polling places; however, the primary elections require twice that number, or six workers per polling place, since workers must staff both the Democratic and Republican primaries.

Bairfield noted the county’s 31 polling places reflect a decrease by one precinct due to the recent county redistricting. The Brookhaven Recreation Department is no longer a county voting precinct, although it continues as a polling place for city elections.

With 31 precincts and two party primaries, the June 3 election will require a total of 186 poll workers. On election day, the workers handle such duties as checking the names of voters in the poll book when they come to vote and providing assistance to voters who request help.

And when the polls close, the poll managers bring the boxes of ballots and voting machine cards to the government complex so the election results can be tabulated.

Poll workers must:

• Be a resident and registered voter of Lincoln County

• Be able to work from 6:30 a.m. till 7:30 p.m. on election day, since the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and all voters inside the polling place at 7 p.m. must be allowed to vote.

• Be able to attend one of the training classes for poll workers prior to the June 3 election.

Poll workers are paid $90 a day, and poll managers receive an additional $20, making their salary for the day $110.

In addition to serving on election day, poll workers are required to attend one training session prior to the election.

To accommodate individual schedules, Bairfield is giving the training on multiple days, and poll workers can choose which date works best for them. Trainees can select one of the following dates/times:

• Tuesday, May 20, at 2 p.m. and again at 6 p.m.

• Thursday, May 24, at 2 p.m.

• Saturday, May 24, at 9 a.m.

• Wednesday, May 28, at 2 p.m.

The training session is approximately three-to-four hours. The time is paid at minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) and added to the poll worker’s paycheck.

Certainly the pay is not the reason people become poll workers. “… I look at it as a public service,” Bairfield said. “They are the first line of integrity in the election.”

Those interested in serving as poll workers should call the circuit’s clerk’s office at (601) 835-3435 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Bairfield also requested that all previous poll workers please call to check in as well, so the clerk’s office can make sure their names are on the poll worker list.

Bairfield said he tries to let poll workers work in a precinct as close to their home although that may not always be possible. A list of Lincoln County precincts is included in a separate post on