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By The Staff

Have you considered becoming an election officer in Owen County?

The election officers are a vital part of having a smooth, fair and accurate election.

In order to serve as an election officer, you must attend election training sessions; you must also be a qualified registered voter. You can serve as a precinct officer as long as you will be 18 years old on or before the general election.

You would not be eligible to serve if you are a candidate or the spouse, parent, brother, sister or a child of a candidate. Also you cannot serve as an election officer if you have changed your party affiliation one year prior to serving.

Each year, the Owen County Board of Elections appoints the election officers, two judges, one clerk, and one sheriff for each precinct. One judge is a Democrat and one is a Republican. The sheriff and the clerk are also from opposite parties. The board appoints alternates to serve if they are needed. The election officers are appointed for a period of one year.

The election officers have the responsibility of setting up the voting machines, arranging the election material, posters, flag, parking signs, and cones.

The officers have the responsibility of making sure the precinct is up and ready for the voters at 6 a.m. This means that the election officers need to arrive at the precinct before 5:30 a.m. At 6 a.m., the precinct officers must process voters by verifying their registrations, checking their IDs, and provide voters with the correct paper ballot or set the E-Slate machine for the correct party and ballot.

Also, the officers need to help provide any assistance that ensures that every voter is given the same opportunity to vote. The officers need to be aware and ensure that all election laws at the voting precinct are followed.

At the close of the day, after the last voter in line at 6 p.m. has voted, the officers close the precinct and prepare the election results. They complete all the necessary paper work and post the election results at the precinct. Then the two election officers (judges) return all the election materials with results to the Owen County Clerk’s Office. The officers typically have a long day and it takes an individual who is truly committed to being a vital part of the election process and has a strong commitment to their county to serve.

Election officers do receive compensation from the county for attending training and working on Election Day.

To find out more about serving as an election officer, contact the county clerk’s office, the county board of election, or the chairman of your political party affiliation.

As a voter, remember that in the primary election you may cast a ballot only in the same party in which you are registered.

If all you do is vote, you are doing more than 50 percent of the American public.

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Joan Kincaid is the Owen County Clerk.