Scrutinizing signatures, tallying write-ins

Does this look like fun?


Clark County hired more than 200 election workers this year, said Auditor Greg Kimsey. In the era of polling places, the county had to hire 600 to 700 workers. Workers earn between $9.25 and $16 an hour, depending on skills and experience. They work between 40 and 60 hours.

It’s a common misconception that workers are volunteers.

There’s more accountability and control when the county pays people, Kimsey said. (The Republican and Democratic party each supply certified election observers; those people are not paid by the county.)

Kimsey hires an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. Workers need to be a Clark County resident and a registered voter. Civic pride and love for the democratic process aren’t requirements, but workers have it in abundance, he said.

While he does have workers in their 20s, the typical age of a worker is closer to 70. Jobs include staffing ballot drop-off locations or working as part of a four-member inspection board or a three-member resolution board. As we earlier reported, ballots are inspected a minimum of three times. Ballots with any irregularities are examined even more times, and ballots that have at least one write-in candidate are set aside so the write-ins can be entered into a computer. (So if you wrote in Mickey Mouse for state auditor, your choice has been duly noted.)

So how are workers selected? Kimsey said the county has had a loyal group of workers since the days of polling places, and new workers are often referred by a current one. People can also call the elections office at 360-397-2345 to inquire about openings.

Workers go through a few hours of training, Kimsey said.

Additionally, the elections office hosts a class in the summer on the ballot-counting process. Kimsey encourages people to get that behind-the-scenes peek.

“They end up being more confident in the process,” he said.

In his 13 years in office, only two people have remained skeptics after getting that behind-the-scenes look. I won’t reveal their names, but here’s a hint: They both ran for office, and they both lost.

Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice

I cover Vancouver city government. Reach me at or 360-735-4508.

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