by Sidhartha Wakade
The July meeting for the Morgan County Board of Elections and Registration (BOER) began routinely enough, but sprits fell after the board learned that poll workers would not be getting a requested raise.
“Y’all had asked about poll workers… they did not approve a poll worker raise,” said Jennifer Doran, elections supervisor for the BOER. “So the pay will be the same.”
Helen Butler, a member of the BOER, asked again to clarify.
“They didn’t approve it?” Butler asked.
“They did not,” Doran said. “They will be making what they did last fiscal year.”
Poll worker pay will remain $10 an hour during early voting for all workers, Doran explained. On election day it will be $11 an hour, she said. Poll managers will get $12 an hour on election day, she said.
Board members were disheartened by the news.
“Did the Board of Commissioners give a reason for denying the pay raise?”
asked Avery Jackson, a member of the BOER.
“They had just received a raise last year,” Doran said. “So they did not give a raise this year.
“That upsets me,” said Scott Sellers, a member of the BOER.
After a some silence, the board moved on to other matters. The board went over staff reports before discussing the acquisition of new voting equipment before the presidential preference primary.
“As the board asked me, I reached out to Chris Harvey… his reply was basically the selection process is not completed so they don’t have specific dates,” said Doran. “As of this morning, as far as I know, they still have not signed the contract or chosen the vendor.”
During public comment, a member also expressed concern about the software that current machines run on.
“I want to highlight for the public record the revelation this past week that the systems that are likely to be available for us to purchase as a state are run on Windows 7,” said Jeanne Dufort, a public commenter.
Microsoft will discontinue support for Windows 7 beginning in January of 2020.
“What that functionally means is, we’re not going to get new security patches,” Dufort said. “Your responsibility is to the voters of Morgan County to say ‘We’re comfortable operating safe elections,’ and I just don’t see how that’s possible.”
The chairman of the board, Michael Ghioto, thanked Dufort for her comments but made no other reply. The board then went into executive session.