Starke County Commissioners Refuse to Combine Voting Precincts

Starke County Commissioners Kathy Norem, Dan Bridegroom and Jennifer Davis

The Starke County Commissioners yesterday morning made a couple changes to the voting system, including a pay raise for poll workers. Clerk Evelyn Skronski approached the commissioners with a few requests, including a request to combine a number of precincts and raise the per-day pay rate for inspectors, judges, sheriffs, and other workers at the polls.

Skronski told the commissioners that she wanted to combine precincts Washington 1 and 2 together, and Wayne 1 and 2. Commissioner Kathy Norem said that Skronski needed the approval of the commissioners to do so, and she was “vehemently against” the idea of combining precincts. Commissioner Dan Bridegroom agreed, saying it would cause a number of problems with people trying to vote, because the increased number of voters at the same location would increase wait times, which could cause some people to turn away from the polls.

Skronski said her overall goal is to cut down on costs by combining precincts, but the commissioners denied her request.

The commissioners did, however, approve a pay raise for poll workers, as Norem said the county is required to at least pay them minimum wage for the time they work. As a result, the pay for poll inspectors was increased from $90 per day to $142.50 per day, and the pay for judges, clerks, and sheriffs was increased from $60 to $95. A $10 bonus is also offered to workers who have completed the training course.

The only precincts that the commissioners agreed to combine were Center Townships 1 and 2, as well as 3 and 4.