Ron Martin: Poll workers deserve more pay

September 24, 2018


Why is it that the people who govern never seem to have to obey the same rules they want the governed to follow? Federal law says there are only two kinds of employees, common-law employee or independent contractor. Both poll workers and county supervisors are common-law employees, as you can see from the quotes from the IRS website.

“In most cases, individuals who serve as public officials are government employees. Therefore, the government entity is responsible for withholding and paying federal income tax, Social Security and Medicare taxes. They must also issue a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, to a public official. These facts and relevant examples are discussed in detail in Publication 15-A, and on the Independent Contractor or Employee? page.”

“Election workers are common-law employees; however, under IRC 3121b)(7)(F)(iv) an exception from FICA is provided for election officials and workers who earn less than a specified amount for a calendar year ($1,700 for 2016). See Election Workers: Reporting and Withholding for details and relevant examples.”

This just says that until poll workers reach $1,700 they do not withhold taxes, but you can request that they do withhold taxes because it is taxable income. But right at the beginning, it says “Election workers are common-law employees.”

Yet the county insists that poll workers are independent contractors. This is what the IRS website says about independent contractors.

“You are not an independent contractor if you perform services that can be controlled by an employer (what will be done and how it will be done). This applies even if you are given freedom of action. What matters is that the employer has the legal right to control the details of how the services are performed.”

All this to justify paying poll workers 1/3 of minimum wage, while supervisors are paid three times the yearly income of the average Mohave County resident. Even jurors make close to minimum wage. No one should be punished by losing pay that they would have gotten at a normal job so they can support their community.

Ron Martin


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