Letter to the editor: Need Tulsa County precinct officials

Every time there is an election in Tulsa County, the Tulsa County Election Board is responsible for making sure the voting process is flawless. Preparing for a smooth process, which is free of any doubt about the integrity of the results, requires more than just properly working machines. It primarily relies upon the precinct officials who are there when polls open until they close.

In a sense, these workers are the glue to the process and the managers of the integrity. That is why the Election Board is concerned that we don’t have enough citizens stepping forward to serve as officials to man over 180 precincts in Tulsa County for the elections coming in 2017 and 2018 Historically, precinct officials have primarily been retired senior citizens because they have the time. But the availability of reliable seniors has been diminishing and this is why the Election Board is sounding the call for citizens to help them.

Each precinct has three officials: the inspector, the judge, and the clerk. Each has a specific duty in the voting process. To serve in anyone of these capacities requires a one-day training program at the Election Board. Each official is paid for his or her service at the polls on Election Day. It’s time for our business community to consider how they can help with the importance of these responsibilities. Just as our business and corporate citizens have recognized the Day of Caring and allow their employees to serve one day helping others, they should now consider recognizing a Day of Citizenship and allow employees to serve as precinct officials with no loss of pay or loss of personal leave time.

If an employee is allowed to participate as precinct officials, the pay they receive for serving as a precinct official could be returned to the employer who in turn could pledge this money to a nonprofit agency of their choice.   This new approach to serving our community on election day is a win-win-win for all involved: The company wins a “gold star” for citizenship; the employee wins with the satisfaction of having played a key role in the election process; the nonprofit chosen by the company to donate what the employee is paid wins because this would be an unexpected yet welcomed financial help; and the Election Board wins because it has the certainty of knowing it has a reliable force of precinct officials.

The Election Board has 10 training classes scheduled for dates throughout October. Training is from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Election Board and those who attend the training are paid $25.

This is an important opportunity of citizenship. Just as the Day of Caring benefits our community, so would a Day of Citizenship benefit one of the most important freedoms we have: the freedom and privilege of voting. Business and individuals who are interested should call 918-596-5762 or electionboard@tulsacounty.org