Election boards get 'long overdue' raise

Staff Writer

A group of elected officials who have gone longer than just about anyone in the state without a pay raise finally have one coming.

And ironically, they are the people responsible for making sure elections are run correctly.

The Legislature this week approved a bill raising the pay for election commissioners across the state from $84 to $100 a day. It's been stuck at $84 for more than 13 years.

It takes effect July 1.

"We're just glad they've finally recognized the work we do. We've tried for several years to get it done, but it's always been killed in committee," said Linda Ivy, the District 1 Election Commissioner and chairman of the Clay County Election Commission.

"The work we do often is overlooked, but we are the people who help make elections happen," Ivy continued, noting board members go through annual training in January, workshops during the summer and online training in the fall and other parts of the year.

The Election Commission is responsible for scheduling, meeting deadlines, getting and training poll workers, monitoring absentee voting and everything else related to elections. The Clay County group has worked to try to clean up voters rolls, including updating addresses and removing people who have moved or died.

"We've gotten the books cleaned up, we've worked very hard at it over the years," said Ivy, who was first elected 13 years ago.

Clay County Circuit Court Clerk Bob Harrell said the raise is long overdue.

"At elections, their day starts at 5 a.m. and goes until 11 or midnight. During the election season, they are in all the time checking on things. I couldn't do it without them," said Harrell, whose office handles non-city elections.
Ivy got involved because she wanted to be a part of the process. She stays with it for that reason.

"I love going out and telling people about changes in election laws, getting people to register to vote and explaining to them why it's important to vote...doing something for the community," Ivy said. "I love it."