Over the past few statewide election cycles, Alaska has struggled to enlist enough workers to help process, verify and count ballots. A recent pay raise for these workers may help alleviate the chronic problem.
While there are numerous borough and city elections across the state this year, the pay raises only affect those who work in state-run elections. The only state-run elections in 2023 will be for contests in Regional Educational Attendance Areas (REAA) in bush communities established as unorganized boroughs. Alaska has 23 different REAAs, representing 176 communities.
Going forward, however, all state election workers will see increased pay.
Signed off by Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom, the new regulations boost pay for election board chairpersons and absentee voting station officials from $12.50 an hour to $20.50. Likewise, questioned ballot review boards, absentee voting officials, ballot tabulators, polling place field workers, those appointed as personal representatives, and absentee and questioned ballot processors will see their pay jump from $12.50 to $20 an hour.
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According to Alaska statute, the Division of Elections is authorized to set worker wages under the lieutenant governor’s leadership. The pay raises were adopted after a public comment period earlier this year.
In the lead up to last year’s general election, the Division of Elections struggled to find workers in several rural communities, and in the 2020 statewide elections, there was widespread concern over election worker shortages in Anchorage and the Mat-Su due to Covid fears.
Those who wish to serve as election workers must be registered to vote in Alaska, be willing to work 16 or more hours on election day (or share a position and work a split shift) and attend a four to five hour paid training session. Workers must also be willing to act in a non-partisan way and refrain from expressing political opinions while on the job. Election workers cannot have any familial relationship to any candidate on the ballot.
To learn more about being a state election worker, click here.