Increases, addition of poll workers among changes to Rowan Board of Elections budget proposal – Reuters

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SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Elections on Tuesday approved a proposed 2022-23 budget that will include wage increases for workers, additional staff and increased printing costs.

The council met at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday to approve the slate of candidates for the 2022 primary election and discuss updated nominations for the chief justice and judge, an official list of possible workers elections for the one-stop voting period and a proposed 2022-23 budget.

Executive Director Brenda McCubbins told the meeting that the proposed budget, which she will submit to county administration this week, will not benefit from additional COVID-19 funding this time. Rowan County’s 2020-21 fiscal year budget allocated $722,410 to the Board of Elections, which is $21,784 more than the 2019-20 fiscal year. For the 2021-22 budget, County Commissioners approved $680,755 for the Board of Elections.

The council received a grant of $244,691 in 2021 from the Federal Election Security Fund HAVA to offset certain costs in the 2020 general election, which included renting two voting machines and a tabulator used during the recount. The remainder of the grant was used to purchase 48 ExpressVote machines from ES&S.

Salary increases are among the changes made to the 2022-23 budget proposal. In February, the council authorized pay increases for chief justices and other election day workers. The Chief Justice’s pay has been increased from $230 to $265, which includes pay for picking up and dropping off ballots, returning equipment and attending training for Election Day. Other Election Day judges will now earn $205 for running the election and training, up from $175 previously.

One-stop supervisors will earn $13.18 per hour, while other one-stop workers will earn $10.98 per hour. The council also authorized additional pay for McCubbins if she exceeds 40 hours per week from the first day of one-stop voting through the countywide solicitation after the election. This additional compensation will amount to $30 per hour.

Supervisors and early voting workers automatically receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment each year when granted.

Additionally, McCubbins noted that the current 2021-22 budget covers the municipal elections in 2021 and will also cover the upcoming primary elections on May 17, while the 2022-23 budget will only cover the general elections.

McCubbins said the workforce will change slightly as two workers will be dedicated to curbside voting service and an additional worker will be needed to operate the DS200 voting machine during shifts. There are on average six workers per constituency.

Printing costs will also increase as the council will be required to discard mail-in ballot envelopes due to wording changes, McCubbins said. So, rather than keeping a stockpile, the council will have to reorganize these materials before each election.

McCubbins also said the council is working to allow more split shifts to reduce overtime for election workers. Board member Catrelia Hunter asked if election workers were allowed to work split shifts. McCubbins said judges cannot split shifts on Election Day, but other election aides can.

Those interested in helping the council successfully complete the 2022 elections or for more information visit rowancountync.gov/Elections.

The board also approved moving its regularly scheduled April meeting from April 5 to April 12, beginning at 12:30 p.m. at the Elections Office located at 1935 Jake Alexander Boulevard West.

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