South Carolina looking for next generation of poll managers

South Carolina looking for next generation of poll managers
South Carolina looking for next generation of poll managers (Source: Jason Raven)

NEWBERRY COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - Ellen Hunt is one of the thousands of South Carolinians who make sure your vote counts every election.

Hunt is a poll clerk in Newberry County. She said, "You learn so much about how our system works."

She manages the polling place she works at. She said it's not about the money but being a part of the political process.

"It's exciting to see people coming out because they really do believe their vote matters," Hunt said.

According to the State Election Commission (SEC), about 20,000 people work as poll managers in the state.

There has been a big push to recruit more poll managers in time for the 2020 Presidential Election. Chris Whitmire with the SEC said, "We have to have that next generation of poll managers. If we're going to continue our method of voting at the polling place on Election Day, where the majority of South Carolinians are casting their ballot in person, we have to have the people there to continue to serve them."

The SEC said poll managers got a raise recently. Their pay was increased from $60 to $75 on Election Day. Poll managers also received $60 for attending the training they need.

There was also a change to state law that made it easier for people, like college students, to work as poll managers. Whitmire said, "State law was amended to broaden the pool of poll managers by allowing poll managers who are registered to vote in South Carolina to work in any county."

Before this change, state law only allowed you to work in the county you were registered to vote in or a nearby county.

Hunt said recruiting the next generation of poll managers is very important. "I think the more we can get younger people excited about the idea of voting the more likely they will be to help."

Right now in South Carolina, 16 and 17 year-olds can be hired as poll manager assistants.

If you’re interested in becoming a poll manager, contact your local county Board of Voter Registration and Elections.

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