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Ector County looking for bilingual election day clerks - Odessa American: Government

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Ector County looking for bilingual election day clerks

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Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 5:24 pm

There’s a lot more to putting an election together than just setting up voting booths.

For Amanda Snyder, bilingual coordinator for the Ector County Elections office, one of her main duties is finding enough bilingual Election Day clerks to work during the Nov. 6 general election.

In total, the county needs 140 additional clerks to help man voting booths; 84 of those should be able to speak both English and Spanish. As of Tuesday, Snyder said she only needs 10 more bilingual clerks.

“But it’s always good to have reserves,” Snyder said. “Just in case anyone can’t show up.”

Ector County Elections Administrator Mitzi Scheible said the Texas Secretary of State’s office makes each county election office hire a certain number of bilingual clerks based on the number of registered voters with Hispanic surnames. The 84 needed for this year’s presidential election is based on two different factors: the increase in polling locations for the general election in comparison to the primary election; and because of the increase in the Hispanic population over the past couple of years.

If the county is unable to fulfill the requirement set by the Texas Secretary of State, Scheible said she would have to consolidate some precincts, bring them before the commissioners court for a vote, and then send the decision to the Department of Justice for approval.

“But that’s never happened before,” Snyder said.

In order to work on Election Day, Snyder said eligible participants have to undergo two different trainings: one on Tuesday and the other on Oct. 30. Both meetings are scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. and finish at 7:30 p.m. The positions are open to anyone, including high school students who are at least 16 years old in age.

“They have to be in good standing with their school and must be approved by their principal and parents,” Snyder said, noting that she had six high school students who worked as clerks during the 2008 general election.

Scheible said the county also pays $9 an hour and first-time clerks would be stationed with people who have worked during an election before, helping ease any nerves someone might have.

“I will not put someone in a position … without someone who has worked at least three or four elections,” Scheible said.

Martha Hulsey, who said she’s been working during Election Day for “several years,” said she originally started when she was an elementary school teacher to teacher her students about civic duty.

Hulsey said the people that she meets during the election are knowledgeable and many clerks express interest in returning for another election.

“Most of the time, you see people who want to do it again and because they enjoyed there service,” Hulsey said.  “Sometimes people don’t want to do it again, but that’s not very often.”

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