CLARION – With the May 16 Primary Election only weeks away, Clarion County election officials said earlier this week that they are scrambling to find poll workers to facilitate polling locations throughout the county.
“We’re in desperate need of poll workers,” Clarion County Interim Election Director Cindy Callihan told Commissioners Ted Tharan, Wayne Brosius and Ed Heasley at their meeting Tuesday morning, noting that while poll workers are needed at all county precincts, some areas are in greater need of workers than others — including Callensburg and Foxburg boroughs and Richland Township. “We’ve sent postcards out to those areas...and put flyers in the post offices to spread the word.”
According to Callihan, depending on the position, poll workers can earn anywhere from $145 to $160 plus mileage per election day. Training is also provided for all poll workers prior to the election.
“It’s pretty important that we have poll workers,” she said, noting, however, that it’s becoming harder and harder to find people willing to serve. “The people who have been there for years are retiring, and we don’t have new people coming in to take their places.”
While the county sponsors a student poll worker program which gives area students the opportunity to work at the polls, Callihan pointed out that “the only catch” is that the students are only available for one year.
“It’s a very good program for students to help out at the polls,” she said. “However, we need people who are willing to stay as poll workers year after year to get the experience and help train new workers as they come in.”
Although poll workers can be appointed up to five days before an election if needed, Callihan said it doesn’t give the new workers much time to train ahead of time.
“There’s a lot for poll workers to learn,” she said, adding that the Elections Office always tries to put an experienced poll worker on the election board at each precinct. “We are even willing to move an experienced person from one board to another for the day to help train.”
“We need to get people trained who will stay on for years to come,” Callihan continued.
Callihan encouraged all county residents to consider becoming poll workers to help their community, even those who think they can’t serve because they work on election day.
“It might be worth their while to take a personal or vacation day,” Callihan said of potential poll workers who typically work on election day, explaining that if a personal day was used, the worker wouldn’t lose any of their salary at their full-time job plus earn the day’s wage from the county.
Anyone interested in becoming a poll worker should call the Clarion County Elections Office at (814) 226-4000 Ext. 2006, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other election business, the commissioners approved changing the voting location for two county precincts.
Beginning with the May 16 Primary, and all future elections, voters in Monroe Township will now vote at the Zion Church in Clarion.
Callihan said the county was asked to move the voting precinct from its former location at the Monroe Township building due to “safety and parking reasons.”
“I guess a lot of people were backing out onto the highway,” Callihan said, noting that parking was also limited at the township building.
County officials also said that the new Monroe Township voting location will be more centrally located for voters in that township.
Additionally, voters in Hawthorn Borough will now cast their ballots at the Hawthorn Area Volunteer Fire Department, due to the closing of its previous voting precinct, the Hawthorn Calvary United Methodist Church.
A facilities use agreement was also approved with PennWest Clarion for use of Marwick Boyd to be used as the polling location for Clarion Borough Third Precinct for the primary election.
Proclaim 4-H Week
Also at the March 14 meeting, the commissioners proclaimed March 12-18 as Pennsylvania 4-H Week in Clarion County.
“Pennsylvania 4-H Week showcases the incredible ways that 4-H inspires kids to achieve and highlights the remarkable 4-H youth in Clarion County who work each day to make a positive impact on those around them,” states the proclamation which was presented to Clarion County Penn State Extension 4-H representatives Patty Anderson, Avah Burke and Paige Klingler at the meeting.
According to the proclamation, 4-H is provided by the Penn State Extension in rural areas, small towns and cities in all 67 Pennsylvania counties to more than 77,000 youth ages 5-18. The organization supports nearly six million youth across the United States.
“4-H has helped 200 youth in Clarion County to become confident, independent, resilient and compassionate leaders as they learn by doing,” the proclamation states, noting that 4-H students in Pennsylvania are served by a network of staff members and more than 6,000 adult volunteers who mentor the youth in learning activities and hands-on projects on several different topics — including animal science, civic engagement, STEM, and health and wellness. “4-H’s network provides youth with opportunities for leadership development, career exploration, problem solving, friendships, community involvement, passion and purpose.”
• The following proclamations from the Clarion Area Chamber of Business and Industry were awarded for 2022: Citizen of the Year, Jacqueline “Jackie” Griebel; Lifetime Achievement Award, Bill Hearst; Business of the Year for Community Service, Tri-County Animal Rescue; Business of the Year for Economic Development, Fallers Furniture & Mattress; and Young Professional of the Year, Jess Funk.
• Approval was also given for the following contracts for summer maintenance: Joe Rainey, county cemetery ($50 per mow) and East Brady Overlook ($75 per mow); Ken Gilbert, Leeper Tower site ($45 per mow); and Travis Myers, Helen Furnace ($165 per mow).
• An agreement was approved, pending legal review, with First Energy for an easement at the Clarion County Park to install new power lines.
• The commissioners approved an agreement with Rapid Financial Solution to provide payment services for jurors.
County officials explained that instead of jurors receiving checks, which often go uncashed, for their service, they will now receive a pre-loaded debit card containing their payment.
• Approval was given to an agreement between the county and United Mine Workers of America Region I, AFL-CIO/CLC which represents the county’s probation officers.
According to county officials, the new contract includes $2.50 per hour raise, and is effective Jan. 1, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2025.
• County officials awarded $9,000 in Hotel Tax funds to be used for county Facebook advertisements for 2023, as well as $70,000 for television ads. Multiple contracts for Exit 62 and Foxburg rack cards were also approved.