KSU extends paid leave to volunteer poll workers

Nicole Stempak

University revises policy to encourage employees to serve at voting locations

Kent State employees may be excused from work to serve as poll workers on Election Day.

How students can help at polls

Portage County Board of Elections needs poll workers, deputy director Lois Enlow said. There are four poll workers for each precinct.

“If a student would like to be a poll worker, they have to have permission to miss classes, and they are required to attend a training session,” Enlow said.

She said the board schedules several classes for new poll workers and details the voting process. Workers are paid for both the training session and working on Election Day.

However, they must work the entire time polls are open, from 5:45 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Students could not just work in between classes, said Undergraduate Student Government adviser Donna Carlton.

“You must be committed for the whole day,” she said.

Carlton said finding enough poll workers for the two precincts at the Student Wellness and Recreation Center is critical.

Poll workers must be registered voters in Portage County.

Enlow said applications are available online at http://www.co.portage.oh.us/election/index.html.

The guideline revision for the Division of Human Resources at Kent State allows workers to apply for poll worker leave.

The revision, which was made in July, is in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, said Joe Vitale, director of talent management within human resources.

“Kent State University recognizes that there is a need for a pool of available individuals to serve as poll workers in order for our democratic process to operate in a fair and efficient manner,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Kent State will allow classified and unclassified employees who work either full or part time to be paid for up to the maximum number of hours the employee was regularly scheduled to work on Election Day, according to the revision.

“For example, an employee who usually works an 8-hour day, but works a 12-hour shift at the polls, is only eligible for 8 hours of leave,” according to the revision.

Vitale said the goal is to allow employees to work at the polls without affecting their jobs.

“We wanted to make sure, first and foremost, any department would be able to operate in an effective and efficient manner if they allow any employees this privilege,” he said.

The guidelines do not pertain to Kent State faculty, Vitale said.

Contact student politics reporter Nicole Stempak at [email protected].