By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer
Gearing up for the general election, precinct workers have been brushing up on rules and regulations at an election school that was held on Wednesday and Thursday in the Roosevelt County Courthouse.
During the school, precinct workers are briefed on laws, and what is to be done on election day and at the polls, said Janet Collins, Roosevelt County Clerk. Issues such as gathering votes legally and ethically are also taught at the school, said Collins.
“All of the precinct workers are required to come to an election school during the calendar year,” said Collins.
Working as a precinct worker for the past 10 years has been an enjoyable experience for Mildred Porter. Each election sees changes, said Porter. This year the big change is the new voting machines. Along with the new voting machines comes new regulations and guidelines that must be followed and new paperwork that has to be done, said Porter.
Working well together with other precinct workers has prevented any major crisis on election day, said Porter. Despite the long day,and the job that has to be done, Porter also has the opportunity to visit with the voters as they come in to vote, she said.
“It’s marvelous, said Porter. You have the best time. The people are great, if they weren’t, you wouldn’t do it.”
During the general election, it takes approximately 120 workers to staff the 21 polls located throughout Roosevelt County, said Collins.
Compensated for their time, precinct workers receive $130 per day and presiding judges receive $150 per day. At times, Collins has had to recruit workers, if their are not enough workers on the list, she said.
Owning and operating a business in Portales for 44 years has afforded Melvin Littlejohn, precinct 10 judge, with the opportunity to meet many people throughout the community. For the past 10 years, working as a precinct worker has allowed Littlejohn to visit with many of his former customers and friends as they come in to vote, he said.
“I’ve enjoyed working with people and enjoy seeing them (people),” said Littlejohn.
Incidents at the polls have been minor over the years, said Littlejohn. One incident that stands out, said Littlejohn, is the lady who came in to vote wearing a T-shirt with a political endorsement. Since campaigning is not allowed within a certain distance of the polling place, the lady was asked to step into the ladies room and turn her shirt inside out. With cooperation, the lady obliged and the incident was resolved, said Littlejohn.
‘It’s just one of the rules that we have to go by,” said Littlejohn.
Citing a well organized system that has prevented any major problems, Littlejohn says when a situation arises, such as the voter going to the wrong place, it is quickly resolved with all parties involved, said Littlejohn.
“I have the very best poll workers and staff,” said Collins.