LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -You can’t have an election without them. They are the poll commissioners, people who check identification and make sure those voting have the proper credentials, are at the correct precinct and more.
But Calcasieu Clerk of Court Lynn Jones says they need more commissioners.
“We are currently short on election day polling commissioners. This is not new. It’s usually the case throughout the country. We do struggle to get election day workers. You know we have to keep over 900 commissioners available for each election and they have to man 123 precincts throughout the parish,” said Jones.
The basic requirements are to be a registered voter at least seventeen years old.
It is a long day since the polls open at 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. during a federal election. They otherwise, open an hour later. But Jones says many who serve welcome the chance to do their civic duty. Plus, it’s a chance to see many people in the neighborhood.
“It goes by very fast. But what most of our commissioners like about their job is they’re able to see people in their neighborhoods they don’t normally see daily. They’re able to meet new people. Not only voters coming in, but co-workers and they become lifelong friends,” said Jones.
Besides that, those selected to work are paid: $200 for a commissioner, $250 for the commissioner in charge.
“Our commissioners like the fall elections because it’s extra spending money for Christmas,” said Jones.
He says they especially need commissioners for the rural areas. Usually, commissioners are offered the option of working at their own precinct. But those not chosen to work for a particular election could be invited to work in a rural area.
To become a commissioner, attend the upcoming class and earn a passing grade on the open book test.
The school is at 6 p.m. Thursday, February 13 in Courtroom A which is on the upper floor of the old Calcasieu Parish Courthouse at 1000 Ryan Street. Click here for more information about becoming a new commissioner.
For more information call 337-437-3550. Ask for Jean Ann East at extension 123 or Princella Ryan, extension 144. Each are a co-director of elections.