The Delaware County Board of Elections was honored by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted for its efforts to recruit poll workers.
The board was one of two recipients of the Bright IDEA (Innovative Developments in Election Administration) Award at this year’s annual gathering of the Ohio Association of Elections Officials for its Delaware for Democracy program.
Delaware for Democracy, an initiative approved in 2011 by the county commissioners, allows employees that work under the umbrella of the commissioners to take a paid day off of work on election day if they sign up to be poll workers.
During a 2012 visit to the county, Husted spoke highly of the program.
“It’s a great program,” Husted said. “The emphasis here is that we’re in a democracy. Democracy requires citizen participation, not only to vote, but to run the elections. Everybody needs to be involved.”
Through the program, the county has been able to reduce the cost of elections by placing poll workers closer to their homes.
According to Director Karla Herron, placing poll workers closer to their homes allows them to be more familiar with their polling location and its voters.
“We thought that would be a really good way to make people feel good about that process,” she said.
Board of elections officials are working to expand the program. Last year, Herron went to each of the municipalities and townships and invited them to participate.
Officials hopes to eventually expand the program to the private sector as well.
“We think the things that’s really going to add to it is the involvement of businesses,” Deputy Director Josh Pedaline said.
With 143 precincts, it takes about 800 people to run an election in Delaware County.
“We have no margin for error,” Pedaline said.