HAYS COUNTY, Texas (Nexstar) — Does Texas have enough poll workers ahead of Election Day in November? The short answer is sort of.
“The job is hard, the hours are long and and the responsibilities are many,” Hays County Elections Administrator Jennifer Doinoff said.
That’s why Hays County officials voted Tuesday to increase pay for its poll workers. Presiding judges, election techs, early voting ballot board and central count workers will make $18 per hour. Early voting and Election Day clerks will now be paid $16 per hour.
“I do think that we do need to keep up with our neighboring counties so that we can continue to have poll worker interest,” Doinoff said.
According to Sam Taylor with the Secretary of State’s Office, Texas is in a significantly better spot now than it was during the primary election. He said there’s been more time for parties to submit their list of poll workers to their counties.
“[Counties could need] anywhere from under 100 [poll workers] in a very small county to up to 3,000,” Taylor said.
Taylor said some counties are still working to get the staff they need with less than two weeks until early voting begins.
“Dallas County is working to recruit more poll workers,” Taylor said. “I think they are on track to get the amount that they need. However, in Bexar County… a judge recently ordered that they expand the number of polling locations. So that’s something where the county is going to have to adjust.”
Election workers in some other places like Gillespie County have quit amid threats and harassment after the 2020 election.
This comes as having an adequate number of election workers — before people cast their ballots — may be more important now than ever. Taylor said there are 2 million more registered voters compared to 2018.
“There’s been an exponential increase in voter turnout each election,” Taylor said. “Just a 20% increase between 2014 and 2018. I think that shows you the power of what the 2016 election did to the electorate, how it got a lot more people engaged, a lot more interested in politics in the voting process.”
Hays County said it expects it’ll have plenty of hands on deck, making for a smooth election.
“We appreciate them, and we just look forward to working with them,” Doinoff said.