County looking for help counting mail-in ballots

LOCK HAVEN — With election changes that offer voters mail-in ballots this year, the county is looking to hire some extra help with April’s primary election.

Clinton County Chief Clerk Jann Meyers said the county is advertising for a temporary part-time “election assistant” to work with Clinton County Director of Voter Registration and Elections Maria Boileau.

The position will be for 10 weeks, likely starting in early March and continuing through the April primary; pay will be $11.50 an hour. Help may also be needed in the November general election, Meyers said.

Boileau said she received word from the state Department of State on Thursday that there could be 4,000 or more mail-in ballots that will need to be counted.

The election changes offer voters options on how to cast their votes — at the polls, mail-in or absentee.

Boileau said the mail-in option is expected to significantly increase the number of votes cast and that it also will change the way that they are counted.

Mail-in ballots are for voters who simply wish to vote by mail before election day, instead of going to their polling place on election day. They do not have to give a reason or an excuse. They can apply online for a mail-in ballot, or download and print the application and mail it to their county election office. Voters can also apply for and vote the ballot in person at their county election office during business hours.

Absentee ballots are for voters who will be away from their home municipality on election day or who have a disability or illness that prevents them from going to the polls. Absentee voters must give a reason. Examples of absentee ballot voters include college students away at school, members of the military, people absent from their home municipality because of work or a vacation and people who cannot go to the polls because they are observing a religious holiday.

Deadline to apply for mail-in and absentee ballots is April 21. Both mail-in and absentee voters will receive a ballot in the mail to complete and return to their county election office by 8 p.m. on election day. Only the voter can return their ballot to the county.

In other business at Thursday evening’s commissioners meeting, the board accepted the resignation of Suzanne Watson, director of information technology, who is retiring effective Feb. 28 after 25 years. Ernie Jackson, senior network/security engineer, will take Watson’s position effective March 2. His salary will remain the same, Meyers said.

Also, the board accepted the resignation of Matt Rodgers, a part-time dispatcher at the 911 Center.

The commissioners will not meet on Monday, which is Presidents’ Day. The next meeting of the board is 10 a.m. Thursday at the Piper building.