Poll workers across New Jersey could see their first pay bump in nearly two decades, under a new proposal in the state legislature.
Legislation set for a public hearing Monday would raise poll worker pay to $300, up from the $200 daily rate that has been in effect since 2001.
“These people are there looking to do the job the best way possible, and it’s high time we compensate them for that,” said Assemblyman Kevin Rooney, R-Passaic, one of the bill’s sponsors.
Rooney said poll workers deserved the raises, which he suggested may also help counties attract new applicants after struggling to recruit poll workers in recent elections.
The state would appropriate $5 million to cover the pay increases, which is shared between the state and county governments.
Jesse Burns, executive director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey, said poll workers are key to a positive election day experience because they greet voters and help them troubleshoot any issues.
“With voter turnout always being at the forefront of our minds, we want to make sure that voters are having a great experience, that poll workers are there to help them make that experience wonderful, and that voters are going to come back election after election to their polling place,” Burns said.
The bill comes after some high-profile election day issues in the state and beyond. Last year, some New Jersey voters were forced to cast provisional ballots after confusion over the state’s new vote-by-mail law. Now, election workers in Iowa continue to deal with the fallout of a disastrous caucus caused by problems with a voting app.
The Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee will hold a hearing on the bill Monday. Rooney said he expects a similar hearing on the Assembly version of the bill later this month.