Eight days after he signed an executive order increasing poll worker pay from $200 to $300 and allowing poll workers to work outside their home counties, Gov. Phil Murphy announced today that the state has since added 13,500 new poll workers, likely mitigating any worries of a shortage.
“Last Tuesday, when I issued an executive order increasing the pay for our poll workers for both Election Day and during the early voting period, we estimated that we were about 10,000 poll workers short of what we needed,” Murphy said at his twice-a-week Covid briefing. “We have now filled that anticipated need, and then some.”
Given that the state is not only opening its full complement of Election Day polling sites but also implementing its first-ever early voting period, there were some concerns that the existing stock of poll workers would not be enough.
Last week, Murphy indicated willingness to consider more steps, including raising pay even further and calling the National Guard to assist, if the worker shortage was not fixed by the executive order – steps that have now been rendered unnecessary.
“To those of you who have stepped forward to be a part of our democratic process, ensuring that everyone registered and qualified to vote is able to do so, I say thank you,” Murphy said.
Murphy and the Secretary of State’s office have also both expressed confidence that the early voting process will go smoothly despite other potential complications, such as testing new systems, training workers to use electronic poll books, and uploading and downloading voter data to the state system.