Elections don’t just happen. Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman is well aware of this, and so she’s preparing now for what promises to be a busy 2020.
Freeman is looking for 400 to 500 precinct workers to join the approximately 1,200 she already has available. The Election Board will begin offering one-day training classes next week, with more classes scheduled throughout the rest of the year.
“Not every one of those (1,200) precinct officials can work every election,” Freeman said. “So we have a lot of people on standby. If 20% of our precinct workers can’t make it for whatever reason, then we need a bunch of folks waiting in the wings.”
Oklahomans next year will cast ballots for president of the United States and for Oklahoma’s five seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Sen. Jim Inhofe will also be up for reelection, and in Tulsa, the mayor and all nine city councilors are up for re-election.
The Election Board is also responsible for election results in several suburbs and parts of several suburbs.
Freeman must have staff to operate the county’s 262 election precincts not only on Election Day, but during the spring and summer primary seasons.
“We know the lines are going to be long, the turnout is going to be unbelievable. That is what we’re anticipating,” Freeman said. “So we’re going to try to staff, especially some of our bigger precincts, with extra precinct workers for 2020, but they’ve got to be trained.”
Individuals who complete the one-day class will be paid $25. Precinct workers are paid $87 to $97 for their work on Election Day. The pay, which is scheduled to increase next year, varies depending on the job.
Precinct workers must be registered to vote in Tulsa County and must provide their own transportation.
Certain precinct workers could be eligible to receive mileage payments, depending on their jobs and the distance they have to travel to the precinct.
“We obviously would like to have some folks who are kind of plugged into the system … and feel that’s their civic duty,” Freeman said. “These folks seem to make the best precinct officials because it’s not an easy job. I mean, they are sitting there for at least 13 hours a day.”
For more information, or to sign up for a class, call 918-596-5762. Individuals can also sign up on the Tulsa County Election Board website.
Tulsa Police Sgt. Jennifer Murphy talks about the Tulsa Police new reading program and school supply handout at the Darlington Apartments.