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story.lead_photo.caption Gerry Hamilton, right, demonstrates how to sign in when casting a vote Tuesday, while regular poll workers Diana Hamilton, left, and Jo Pendergraff look on. This election cycle, the Callaway County Clerk's office is encouraging families, groups, churches and businesses to sign up to keep a polling place free together. Photo by Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

Performing a civic duty is more fun with friends.

That's the premise of the Callaway County Clerk office's "Adopt-a-Poll" initiative. Callaway County Clerk Ronda Miller is encouraging families, businesses, organizations, nonprofits and clubs to sign up as a group to keep a polling station clean during the Aug. 4 primary election. Individuals are welcome as well.

"This was thought up by one of the gals in our office, Kathie Ratliff, my chief deputy," Miller said. "The thought (was) first and foremost, keeping our voters and our judges safe at the polls, and thinking why not let it be where someone can make some extra money or a civic organization."

Members of a group may split their hours staffing the polling place among themselves. Polls are open 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Anyone who signs up must attend a short training class to learn about the responsibilities and processes involved in working a polling place. Classes will take place at the Callaway County Clerk's Office; drop by at either 8:30 a.m. or 4 p.m. between  Monday and Friday of next week.

Workers must be at least 17 years old and registered voters.

Responsibilities involve conducting frequent light cleaning of the polling station — gloves, cleaning supplies and masks will be provided. Participants will have to wipe down tables, chairs, writing instruments, door knobs and so on.

This is a paid position, funded through the county's CARES Act money. A group of poll workers can earn up to $200 a day, or $15 per hour per worker, according to the county clerk's office. Checks can be made out to the individual poll workers or the charity or organization of the group's choice.

"The Fulton Soup Kitchen, they're planning on doing it because they're trying to raise money to pay for electrical bill," Miller said.

Five groups had signed up as of Thursday. If not enough groups and individuals sign up to cover the 19 Callaway County polling places, the county will pay its regular poll workers a little extra to handle their own cleaning.

"But we want the poll workers to be able to concentrate on their jobs and keeping themselves safe," Miller said.

The county is still looking to hire regular poll workers for the November election. To inquire about either position, contact the Callaway County Clerk's office at 573-642-0730 or [email protected]

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