TULSA - Since June of 2017 when medical cannabis was on the ballot, voter turnout in Tulsa County has set several records, and by all accounts, that momentum will continue throughout the 2020 presidential election.
Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman tells KRMG “we need a lot of precinct workers, and we need them now.”
“The folks at the election board who've worked there forever and ever, they all say the same thing,” Freeman said Wednesday. “We think it's going to be unprecedented in terms of turnout (in 2020). If you'll remember, back in November and June of last year during midterms, we had unprecedented numbers that showed up for midterms. Unprecedented numbers of people that actually registered to vote, that sort of thing. We don't see any of that slowing down any time soon.”
So, the goal is to get about 500 more precinct workers trained and ready to go, before the busy 2020 election cycle begins.
Stephanie Johnson has done the job for years, and now trains others as well.
She began at the age of 22 when her mother, a precinct official for some 40 years herself, recruited her during a busy presidential election.
“It was a huge and overwhelming experience for a 22-year-old,” Johnson told KRMG, “but the love of it just brought me back, and that's why I'm still here today.”
Freeman says the average age of a precinct worker is 75, so naturally they experience fairly high turnover.
But many return again and again, much like Johnson.
The requirements include residency in Tulsa County, good vision and hearing, a working cell phone, and reliable transportation.
Currently, precinct workers get a $25 stipend for taking the eight-hour course to learn the ropes, then between $87 and $97 for their work on election days.
That amount will go up next year to between $100 and $110, depending on the position.
Precinct officials are also compensated for mileage if they drive over 20 miles (round trip).
Classes take place at the Tulsa County Election Board. They run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and are currently scheduled for:
- Saturday, Sept. 21st
- Monday, Sept. 23rd
- Wednesday, Sept. 25th
- Tuesday, Oct. 1st
- Wednesday, Oct. 2nd
- Saturday, Oct. 5th
For more information, or to enroll in a class, call 918-596-5762.