An Assembly bill that would increase election worker pay to $300 per day was cleared by both the Appropriations Committee and the State and Local Government Committee.
“We want to ensure that workers are receiving the proper pay for the rigorous work they do. This measure will allow us to hire more poll workers and keep our elections more efficient with no added cost to our counties,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37) in a joint statement with Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (D-18).
The bipartisan measures featured supports from Assemblyman Kevin Rooney (R-40) as well.
“Poll workers are important to the integrity of our elections. We need to attract good people with competitive wages,” Rooney said. “It is well past time for them to be more fairly compensated.”
The higher pay could help those who are counting mail-in votes ahead of Election Day as well, as the state is working to determine best steps to reform mail-in voting procedures.
The poll worker pay would be increased regardless of the type of election, including primary, general, or any special elections.
Additionally, the bill would provide $50 for the training of workers.
A Senate version of the bill would raise the pay to $400. Sponsored by State Sen. James Beach (D-6) and State Sen. Joe Cryan (D-20), the bill was already approved by the Senate.
“The poll workers put in long days to make our elections function effectively so that every voter has the opportunity to participate in the democratic process,” said Cryam. “They should be compensated fairly for their service. It is difficult to recruit citizens to become poll workers, but this pay increase will be a great incentive to encourage citizens to take a more active role in our elections.”
Poll worker was raised to $200 in 2001, but has been stagnant since. In the 2020 Election, Gov. Phil Murphy issued an Executive Order to add a supplemental $100 payment to all poll workers who worked on Nov. 2.
Codifying Executive Order
“The legislature and governor recognized the severe shortage in poll workers and did the right thing by adding the supplemental payment this election cycle,” Rooney said. “Let’s do the right thing and make the pay increase permanent.”
With the new law, these changes would be codified and the pay bump would be provided to all poll workers for future elections.
Under the bill, a split reimbursement would occur. The state would pay $225 and counties would pay $75. If enacted, the pay bump would tackle effect immediately.