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Elections Alberta looking for workers

The writ has been issued and the provincial election has been called for April 16, but Elections Alberta is still looking for workers.
20190320-AB ELXN Returning Office-BT-04 copy
Returning officer Lorrill Waschuk (centre) poses with elections clerk Faye Stevenson (left) and administrative assistant Maricel Ros at the Elections Alberta returning office for the Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock constituency in Athabasca. Voters will head to the polls April 16 to cast ballots. (Missing: Elections trainer Peter Karl.)

The writ has been issued and the provincial election has been called for April 16, but Elections Alberta is still looking for workers.

In Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock, the returning office has officially opened its doors at 5003 50 Avenue in Athabasca, and workers are still needed for 84 polls located throughout the constituency.

Returning officer Lorrill Waschuk said they are always looking for more workers.

“We have been continually been taking names and people are still applying for positions through the Elections Alberta website,” Waschuk said. “While we do have names from history, we still have to hire about 240 people.”

She said there are some factors that could determine whether or not they can attract people to the positions.

“The day is going to affect whether they can work or not,” Waschuk said. “Their lives are also going to affect whether they can work or not, so we are just going to continue to take people’s names.”

Waschuk said since the office opened, there have been four full-time workers employed.

“Besides myself, there is an administrative assistant, an elections clerk, and an elections trainer,” she said. “The returning office is the heart of the electoral district’s body. We have all the supplies that are needed, and this is where all the questions come to, and we have to pump the blood out to all the polling stations once Election Day happens. We are setting things up now, because we could not do anything that was actually date oriented until the writ was issued.”

Waschuk said that at this point, they are in the midst of planning their training sessions, booking their polling stations, and then finding out if those same locations are available to train their elections workers before contacting them.

“We have Election Day itself, as well as advanced and mobile polls,” she said. “We only have one returning office per electoral district, but we do travel out to the different communities to set up polling stations and to train our workers in what they need to know.”

She added while some workers may have to drive half an hour to receive their training, they do intend to hire local people to work in each polling station.

“That includes deputy returning officers, poll clerks, registration officers, information officers, and supervisory deputy returning officers,” Waschuk said. “All positions are still open at this point, and we are still taking applications.”

She said being an elections worker can be an opportunity for any high school student who wishes to learn more about the democratic process.

“People as young as 16 years old can apply to become either a poll clerk or an information officer,” Waschuk said. “All other positions, since they are authorized to administer oaths for new voters, can only be held by a person 18 and over. We want people who are excited about and want to participate in the democratic process. It’s a wonderful experience. It’s exciting and you learn a lot about the logistics about running the election.”

She said being an elections worker shows incredible citizenship from anyone involved.

“It shows you are proud of your country, as well as the nation’s democracy and how the whole process works,” she said. “Once you get you get behind the scenes, you find it really is fascinating.”

Anyone who wishes to apply can check out the Elections Alberta website, at jobs.elections.ab.ca/electionofficer/Index.cfm.

“The site is set up very well to take applications,” Waschuk said. “All the different positions are very well explained, and you can also state which position you would prefer. You can also work either advanced polls or Election Day, or both if you so prefer.”

She added that Elections Alberta is very well organized.

“It’s incredible logistics to see all 87 electoral districts are now full-blast ahead,” Waschuk continued. “The challenge is now to get all the polling places reserved and all of our workers trained.”

The Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock returning office is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Any further information can be found by calling 587-841-0631 or by e-mailing ro.49@elections.ab.ca.



Bryan Taylor

About the Author: Bryan Taylor

Bryan Taylor is a reporter with the Athabasca Advocate, joining the paper in April 2018. He covers Athabasca and Boyle municipal politics, as well as other news, community events and sports in and around the region.
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