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Poll workers needed on what could be a busy Election Day

September 16, 2018

GREENWICH — With the political races heating up, the town’s registrars of voters have their eyes squarely set on Nov. 6 and the potential voter turnout for Election Day.

As always, the town will operate 12 polling locations, one in each district in town. And seven of those locations will have multiple voting districts.

The registrars announced they will need help at the polls with checking IDs, handing out the correct ballots, making sure those ballots are properly counted and handing out the coveted “I voted” stickers on what could be a very busy day. The town is looking to hire for these positions: Workers will receive $230 to cover their training and a full day of work at the polls.

“I think a lot of people would do it even without the pay,” town Democratic Registrar of Voters Michael Aurelia said. “The pay is a bonus. People see this as doing their civic responsibility.”

On Election Day, polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Workers must report at 5 a.m.

In 2016, Greenwich saw a 82.93 percent turnout rate and earned the Democracy Cup, which is given out by the secretary of the state’s office to the municipality with the highest turnout in Connecticut.

That was a presidential election, and similar levels are not expected for this year’s election, which includes races for governor, major state offices and legislative seats. But Aurelia and Republican Registrar Fred DeCaro III are anticipating a turnout higher than the 55.5 percent Greenwich saw in 2014, the last time there was a gubernatorial election.

There are competitive races in the 36th State Senate District, which covers all of Greenwich, as well as the 150th and 151st State House Districts. Plus, Greenwich resident Ned Lamont is the Democratic nominee for governor. U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4, another town resident, is seeking re-election to Congress in a race against Republican Harry Arora, who also lives in Greenwich.

Aurelia said he is hoping for a turnout of 60 percent or more, and DeCaro said it could be close to 65 percent.

Overall, the town needs 200 poll workers, who will be split evenly between DeCaro and Aurelia. The work of the poll workers is nonpartisan, so political affiliation will not matter for the applicants.

“We have people of all parties and no party,” DeCaro said.

Visit www.greenwichct.gov/582/Voter-Registration and click on the “I want to work at the polls” section to apply. The section also information about the jobs, which are open to all registered voters in Connecticut. Greenwich residency is not required. Teens as young as 16 can apply but need parental permission. Those who work in the entry-level positions could be hired in future years at levels that have more responsibility and higher pay.

“You have to be willing to work a 14-hour day ideally,” Aurelia said. “It’s a long day, and it’s going to be a busy day.”

In some cases, the town may split the shifts into seven-hour segments.

DeCaro added, “You have to have a pretty decent power of concentration. You are tracking the number of people that pass by you. It’s important you don’t miss a person so your number matches the number of ballots given out and the number of people checked off in the book.”

Workers must ensure that everyone gets the correct ballot in Districts 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 and 11, where some voters cast ballots in the 149th District, some in the 150th and some in the 151st.

One open job is ID checker. Connecticut does not require a photo ID in order to vote, but the registrars said it goes more smoothly if voters bring IDs. Voters can also show their name and correct address. If they don’t have any of that information, they can still vote by affidavit, which the registrar’s office subsequently checks.

Other jobs include ballot clerks, who make sure voters get the right ballot and know how to fill it out, and tabulator tenders, who provide assistance placing their ballots in the machine and who give out the “I Voted” stickers.

It’s an important job because voters sometimes have trouble filling out their ballots, Aurelia said. If a ballot is rejected for any reason, such as for an overvote, they can step in to help.

Greeters will also be hired to guide voters into the correct lines at the polling places.

As for the election for registrars of voters, they will be on the ballot but not in competitive races, allowing them to focus on overseeing the voting. DeCaro is running for re-election, while Aurelia is not. Mary Hegarty will succeed Aurelia as Democratic registrar and she is on the ballot. Since May, Hegarty has been working in the office under Aurelia and has been learning the position.

kborsuk@greenwichtime.com

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