Johnson County poll workers to receive a $2 pay increase

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors voted to approve the raise at its formal meeting Thursday.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors discuss during a budget meeting at the Johnson County Administration Building on Jan. 12, 2022.

Alejandro Rojas, News Reporter

With the midterm election approaching, election workers in Johnson County will receive an increase in their hourly pay, as county officials try to attract more election workers. 

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors voted to increase the pay of local election workers at its formal meeting on Thursday. 

Election workers, known as rovers and chairs, are set to receive a $2 increase to their pay of $16.50 an hour. 

The board voted unanimously to up the pay rate. Bogdana Velterean, deputy auditor of elections for Johnson County, presented at the meeting and said the increase will cost approximately $4,000.

The increase, Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert said, is reflective of the work rovers do for the county during elections.

“We have rovers on election day that rove around to a set of precincts,” Weipert said. “These rovers literally have all the equipment to set up other precincts. If there’s any issues at one of their precincts, they have computers and everything, and [can] take them there.”

Velterean said in an interview the decision for the increase came after talking with election workers.

“There’s a lot of responsibility being a chair, so I think this will show that we care,” she said. “Show that we want them to keep coming back and working.” 

RELATED: Johnson County Board of Supervisors lower proposed salary increases for elected officials

Weipert said in addition to paying rovers for how much they do, the increase is also to help retain current poll workers and attract new ones as well.

“We have to compete to get younger people here to help us with elections. Even a lot of our older poll workers, when you look around, McDonald’s [is] offering them $18 to $19 an hour right now,” Weipert said. “Why do they want to come work for us when they can go work part-time at those jobs, and make more money retired?”

Another concern the pay increase hopes to address has been the harassment of election workers in recent years. Weipert said election workers have told him of their fears stemming from threats they’ve received or concerns of messing up.

Weipert said another issue has been the increasing number of Freedom of Information requests.

“We’re seeing a lot of groups out there that are overwhelming us with Freedom of Information requests, and that bogs us down when we’re trying to do the election. and I’ve had a couple of them already,” he said. “It’s just so time-consuming, and they don’t even know what they’re asking for. But, unfortunately, they read it on a blog or heard this on the internet.”

Polls in Johnson County will open on Nov. 8, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. There will be 27 polling places in Iowa City, with six on campus at the Petersen and Catlett residence halls, the University of Iowa Visual Arts Building, the UI Athletics Hall of Fame, the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, and the UI Psychological and Brain Sciences Building.