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Levin bill would increase election worker pay

Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio

As the 2022 election season approaches, some Michigan clerks say they’re scrambling to find enough election workers. Michigan Congressman Andy Levin hopes increasing their pay might help.

That’s why Levin, an Oakland County Democrat, has introduced the Enhanced Pay for Election Workers Act in the U.S. House. It would provide states with grants to boost pay for poll workers.

Levin says those workers play a key role in the infrastructure of democracy. “Election workers must be compensated adequately for their services and sacrifice,” he said. “And until that happens, we'll have trouble retaining and attracting enough workers to run our elections properly.”

Cheryl Rottmann is the city clerk in Madison Heights. She said most of her poll workers are older people, and they’re paid what amounts to minimum wage for an 18-hour day.

“This legislation will also enable clerks such as myself to recruit the next generation of poll workers, and create sustainability in staffing elections,” Rottmann said.

Rottmann said the COVID-19 pandemic and increased threats against election workers following the 2020 election have also made it more difficult for clerks to find staff. Levin has also introduced a bill to increase protections for them.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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