New York (from Tahir Mahmood Chaudhry) More than 1 million polling workers will perform their duties at more than 2 lakh polling stations in the mid-term elections to be held on November 8 in America. In view of the threat of Corona and violent incidents in the elections, many states of America are also facing a severe shortage of polling staff. Due to Corona, “Early Voting” is also going on from October 29 in most of the states. While general elections across the United States are scheduled for Tuesday, November 8.
Instead of a central election commission to conduct elections in the United States, each county within each state has its own separate and independent election board. Who is responsible for conducting local, state and federal elections. Unlike many other countries, the polling duty staff in the United States consists of very few government employees. In general, any private person, who is an American citizen or a permanent resident of the United States, can become a part of the polling staff by presenting his name.
In the United States, there is an election organization “US Election Assistance Commission” (USAEC) at the federal level. The staff consists of 30 members. Its headquarters is Silver, Maryland. The work of this organization includes providing information and support to the local election boards of different states in the process of conducting transparent and fair elections.
Polling staff in America have different names depending on their responsibilities. In America, instead of presiding officer, the reformation of “coordinator” is used for the person in charge of the polling station. While for other polling staff, the names of election clerk, assessee ballot clerk, election judges, inspectors, scanning inspectors, and commissioners are used. And for all of them, the reformation of “poll workers” is in vogue. An average of 8 polling staff is required for a polling station.
Traditionally, election duty staff in the United States are mostly older people. Polling duty is performed mostly by retired citizens, including a large number of women. According to a report, 81 percent of those who gave polling duty in the 2020 elections were women.
The rate of compensation given to the polling staff in different states of America is also different. In some states, poll workers are paid $17 per hour. In New York, poll workers are paid $15 per hour on Election Day. While 25 dollars are given separately for completing the training. In Philadelphia, wages are paid at least $200 per day. Most of the states offer additional bonuses to the poll workers on the occasion of elections in addition to the regular remuneration.
Poll workers in America are said to be “the musicians of the polls who bring elections to life and ensure they work for the people and their elected members”.