Facing what election officials have privately called a severe poll worker shortage, Gov. Phil Murphy will sign an executive order tomorrow increasing pay for poll workers from $200 to $300 per day. Murphy briefed legislative leaders on his intentions today.
The New Jersey State Senate passed a bill raising poll worker pay from $200 to $400 in June to entice more workers, but the Assembly never took up the bill.
The impending shortage of poll workers can be traced back to several causes, one of which is the launch of in-person early voting, which Murphy signed into law in March. Early voting will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. October 23 through October 30, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on October 31 – a total of 68 hours each at more than 100 poll sites.
The state is also reopening its full complement of voting locations after many were closed in 2020 due to Covid. But while the state may be reopening, some of the older New Jerseyans who are normally the state’s most devoted poll workers might still stay home for fear of contracting Covid.
And while Murphy’s executive order could forestall a potential poll worker shortage, there remain other potential election-related pitfalls for the state, among them the debut of new electronic poll books and the ability of the state voter database to handle uploads of early voting data. As of publication time, the office of the Secretary of State had not returned multiple requests for comment.