York County's elections judges and inspectors must have been doing it for the love of democracy.
After more than 15 years and at least a few years of apparently being paid less than the federal minimum wage, the elected officials are getting raises for the coming election.
The judges are stationed at polling places across York County on election days, preserving the integrity of the vote by making sure the rules of the polling places are upheld.
Election days are long, with judges expected to be at their stations by 6 a.m. They often stay an hour past the 8 p.m. close of polls to gather their votes, which must then be dropped off at the York County Department of Elections and Voter Registration, said director Nikki Suchanic.
She presented the pay raise request to county commissioners Wednesday during a meeting of the county's election board.
Suchanic said judges were paid $100 for the day, which translates to $6.25 per hour for the average 16-hour day. Inspectors were paid $95, which translates to $6.33 per hour for their 15-hour
day. The federal minimum wage is $7.25.
She said the rates haven't been increased in at least the 15 years she has been working in the department and, "It's probably about time."
Commissioners approved a $25 raise for judges, taking them to $7.81 per hour, and a $5 increase for inspectors, bringing them to $6.66 per hour, still under the federal minimum wage.
The change brings York in line with other Third Class Pennsylvania counties in the region, all of which pay judges $125 per day. Inspector pay ranges from $100 to $115.
The pay increases will cost York more than $7,400. The county has about 850 poll workers per election.
-- Staff writer Christina Kauffman can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.