The Portage County Board of Elections is looking for paid-volunteer poll workers for the November general election.
Faith Lyon, director of the county elections board, said Portage has seen a shift in the age of poll workers recently from older, longtime retirees to new retirees and laid-off workers.
"They're the heart of the election truthfully," Lyon said of the volunteer poll workers.
On average, the county relies on about 600 volunteers to staff the polls during a general election. The volunteers get support from 14 full- and part-time elections staffers, four board members and about 30 seasonal employees of the elections board during a general election.
"Without (volunteers) we couldn't run an election," Lyon said.
The requirements for volunteer poll workers are fairly minimal. Volunteers must be a Portage County resident, they must be a registered voter in the county with no felony convictions and they must speak English.
Brad Cromes, deputy director of the elections board, said it helps if poll workers speak a second language, such as spanish, but it's not a necessity.
"And it really helps if you have a basic level of electronics understanding," Cromes said, referring to the county's electronic voting machines.
If you can work a bank ATM, then you can help a voter maneuver the voting machines, Cromes said.
The county pays volunteer poll workers $20 prior to the election to attend a two-hour training session, which is available on nights and weekends. Between 25 and 30 training sessions are available.
The volunteer workers are paid $120 for staffing the county's 62 polling locations — four workers are needed for each location — on election day, and workers who deliver ballots back to the elections board for counting are paid an extra $5.
To apply to become a volunteer poll worker visit the county's website and download the application. The application also is attached to this article and can be downloaded as a .pdf file.
The deadline for applications is mid September in order to attend training prior to the November election.