NEW LAW ALLOWS MINORS TO BE POLLWORKERS; CLERK INVITES APPLICANTS

NEW LAW ALLOWS MINORS TO BE POLLWORKERS; CLERK INVITES APPLICANTS

On Monday, March 8, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson signed legislation allowing supervised minors to serve as precinct poll workers. Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins said he’s eager to start processing applications from young persons willing to serve.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, stipulates that each minor poll worker must be at least 16 years of age, be a citizen of the United States, have approval to serve from his or her parent or legal guardian, and attend a least one poll worker instruction seminar. Minors will serve as poll worker clerks, under the supervision of their respective precinct judges, and will receive $125 for serving on Election Day.

Poll-worker positions are available for both qualifying minors and adults in advance of the June 1 Democrat and Republican Primary Elections, as well as the Nov. 2 General Elections.

“Experience from 38 other states that allow minors to serve as poll workers shows that these programs have been a huge success,” Ellins said. “Our young people will now have the opportunity to learn about democracy in action while performing a valuable community service and earning some money. In addition, this law permits our Bureau of Elections to more easily fill precinct vacancies. It’s a win/win situation for everyone.”

Ellins said he encourages anyone interested in working the polls in 2010 to call the Doña Ana County Bureau of Elections at (575) 647-7428.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (575) 525-5801.