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State shortens work shifts at polling sites

Days that were 14 hours long will be split, and the stipend folks get also will be divided

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 3:02 a.m. HST, Mar 28, 2014

Hawaii officials are launching a pilot project in this year’s election to give some polling-place workers shorter shifts instead of the 14-hour days they’ve worked in the past.

The state will allow split shifts at 108 of Oahu’s largest polling places, Hawaii News Now reported. The split shift will not be done at the 34 smaller precincts on Oahu or at any of the 90 polling sites on neighbor islands.

The temporary election workers are paid $85 for the day. Under the new plan, one worker will take the morning shift on primary election day, and the other will fill the afternoon shift. The workers will split the $85 stipend.

The state’s chief election officer, Scott Nago, said people have asked for split shifts in the past, but it wasn’t allowed.

Rob Rabideau, who has worked in the last 12 elections, said some poll workers have complained about the long shifts. 

“They can’t stay or sit for the length of time they’re supposed to during the elections,” he said.

Rabideau said he likes the idea of the split shifts, saying it could attract more people. 

He said workers should be paid more: $95 or $100. That might help with recruitment, he said.

“It will attract a more diverse amount of people that would actually want to come and work the election,” he said.

Nago said there will be no increase. He said the money is not pay, but a stipend or honorarium for community service.

In another change this year, the state will use a different formula and earlier monitoring of ballots.

In the November 2012 election, 24 Oahu polling places ran out of paper ballots. That caused long lines of voters and delayed the first results by two hours.

“We’re also going to make sure that we check our ballot usage, so that in case we do need to send out ballots, we’ll send them out before the polls open rather than in the midst of polling,” Nago said.

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