Election Day judges undergo rigorous training

Elections Office: 1600 workers will man 307 polling sites

SAN ANTONIO – Early voting ends Friday, and in advance of Election Day next week, a roomful of new and former election judges underwent a rigorous eight hour class.

Judges, both Republican and Democrat, were learning and re-learning everything they need to know before the polls open on Tuesday.

Jacque Callanen, Bexar County Elections Administrator, said that includes the new Voter ID requirement.

"We give them handouts and pictures of the ID's that are all state approved, and they have to stick to that list," Callanen said.

She said Election Day will involve some 1,600 judges and clerks at 307 polling sites.  

Callanen said the early vote turn-out for the mid-term election has been meager, despite several high profile races, only about 6 per cent out of an estimated 110,000 registered voters.  

She said even so, 20 polling sites were added due to an increase in voter registration.

Callanen said election law calls for no more than 5,000 voters per precinct.

She said after publicizing the need for more election clerks, her office had more than 300 phone calls.

Callanen said the additional staff will be needed at some of the polling locations that will have up to six clerks on site to assist voters.

She also said it will be a relief having back-up judges available if necessary.

"We do have a substitute group and we have them ready on Election Day so we can disperse them as needed," Callanen said.

Among those at the Wednesday training session was Roy Sullivan, who said he was excited about being an election judge, but "nervous as any athlete would be before a game, nervous as a preacher  would be before preaching a sermon."

Janet Fenton, whose mother and sister also worked elections in her home state, said it's an important responsibility.

"You want to make sure you do it right and voters' rights are protected, no matter what. You worry about the details," Fenton said.

Her husband Eric said he agreed, "It's a right of citizenship. We're happy to assist in it."

Callanen said although they will earn up to $12 an hour, depending on their duties, Election Day will be at least a 14-hour day that at times will involve questions or problems.

She said election workers deserve the gratitude of voters, "Just tell them, thanks for being here."

Callanen said more information about Election Day can be found the Bexar County Elections website