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Low voter turnout meant 'bored' poll workers

11:05 PM, Aug 14, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Low voter turnout meant an easy day for poll workers.

"[Tuesday]'s turnout was very, very disappointing," said Arthur Jones, a poll deputy for precinct 206 on Fort Caroline Road.

He's been working the polls for 13 years.

"This is the first time I've seen such poor turnout," Jones said.

Jones said the only busy times at Fort Caroline Road location were 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

"We have now about 740, 750 which is terrible for this precinct," he said just before 7 p.m.

That's only about 17 percent of precinct 206's 4,450 registered voters, and only half of what Jones said they've done in just half a day in past years.

"We always have plenty," Jones said of previous years. "By noon we'd run 1,200 to 1,500."

Polling locations in Duval County range from 6,123 registered voters to 384, according to supervisor of elections Jerry Holland, who said the state requires each polling location to have at least 6 employees, including a manager, deputy, machine attendant, inspector, pre-tech and possibly an assistant manager.

For every 800 voters, another inspector is added.

Tuesday, there were 1,521 poll workers between 163 locations, each making between $170 and $250 dollars for the 15 hour day.

Using an average of $210, that's $319,410 for workers who, at least today, got "very bored," according to Jones.

And with 66,707 voters who visited the polls Tuesday, that works out to $4.79 per vote.

But Jones said, they have to be prepared for each person who could vote.

"You don't have a choice," Jones said. "You have to stay on the job and treat every person who comes equally."

First Coast News

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