(Pittsburgh) March 29, 2017 A recommendation by Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner to raise the pay of Election Day poll workers will be considered by the Budget and Finance Committee of Allegheny County Council, Wagner said.

The Resolution–which asks the County Board of Elections to approve a 25 percent pay raise for Judges of Election, Inspectors, and Clerks–was introduced by Councilwoman Denise Ranalli Russell at the March 21 County Council meeting. Pay for Election Day workers in Allegheny County has not been increased since 2008.

“While we cannot reward our dedicated Election Day workers as I’m sure all of us would like, and while most are not in it for the money, I believe this modest increase would show the appreciation of our County government and our citizens, and provide incentive to continue to staff the polls or to participate for the first time,” Wagner said.

The raise for more than 6,500 Election Day workers would cost the County about $350,000 per year, Wagner said. Poll workers work at least 13 hours on Election Days. For most workers, the raise would increase hourly pay to just over $10 per hour.

“I work the polls to help my neighbors and because it’s important, but a raise for the first time in many years is recognition I think all of us deserve,” said Carmen Davis, a Judge of Elections in Penn Hills for the past eight years. “It’s a long day and I think a lot of people don’t realize all that goes into it.”

Wagner’s recommendation stemmed from an audit her office conducted last year. During the audit, County Elections Division staff expressed concerns about retention and recruitment of Election Day workers.

Following her audit, Wagner issued a report suggesting the pay increase as well as other measures to ensure polling places are properly staffed, such as permitting partial work days and initiating programs to recruit high school and college students to poll work.

“I am hopeful that County Council will join my call for a well-deserved pay increase for our Election Day workers, and I also urge the Elections Division to consider the other reforms I have put forward to make sure our elections are properly staffed and run smoothly,” Wagner said.

Controller Wagner’s report on Election Day Staffing can be found here.