Louisiana faces shortage of election commissioners; how you can sign up

Election commissioners, the people who sign you in at polling locations, appear to be a dying breed in Louisiana.
Published: Oct. 27, 2023 at 5:27 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Election commissioners, the people who sign you in at polling locations, appear to be a dying breed in Louisiana. Across the state, especially in the less populated areas, folks just don’t seem as interested in working elections as they used to.

Most of the commissioners you see today are typically over the age of 50. They’re not there for the money, but rather, they believe it’s their civic duty. A sentiment that appears to be missing among younger voters.

“I will tell you it’s getting to a point where we’re very concerned. There is not the sense in young people today to make that sacrifice of serving as a commissioner for the whole day. I just wish young people would step up to the plate and when I say young I’m including myself,” said Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin on Monday while speaker at the Baton Rouge Press Club.

Some parishes are so short of election workers that clerk of court offices were having to pull most of their resources to fill in the gaps.

“Clerks were having to utilize almost their entire staff to work polling locations,” added Ardoin.

It’s not so much a problem for presidential elections. Most people are still relatively motivated when those races come up. But it’s the local and statewide elections where we struggle to get those same workers to return.

“Typically, the smaller the elections the more of a challenge it is to fill in the allotment,” said Fred Slyman with the EBR Clerk of Court Office.

According to Slyman, our parish has roughly 2,500 election commissioners signed up. And although they struggle to get them all to return, for the most part, East Baton Rouge parish has enough to work with without having to scramble.

“We always manage to do well here in EBR. We have not gotten anywhere near a crisis mode where we’ve had to pull in our staff,” Slyman continued.

With that said, he did emphasize they’re always looking for and welcoming new commissioners.

“It’s $200 a day for a regular commissioner and if you worked 2 elections, you’re eligible to take the commissioner in charge test,” Slyman explained.

If becoming an election commissioner is something you would be interested in, click here.

Click here to report a typo.