Last week Marshall County Clerk Jenny Bennitt presented a request to the County Commissioners about not having the office open during the elections next year.

Bennitt told the commissioners the Election Board would like to have the Clerk’s Office closed on Primary Election Day and General Election Day in 2024.  She said Election Days are busy and having the office open this year for the Municipal Primary and Municipal General Election coming this November makes work in the Clerk’s Office difficult. 

The clerk said security is the main concern.  Absentee ballots are sorted the day before the election and put on shelving in the Election Board meeting room.  During a regular business day, that room is used for the Courthouse’s mail and isn’t locked.  On Election Day the room is typically locked to secure the ballots until they are counted. 

Bennitt explained that having the public in and out of the office offers an opportunity to overhear part of a conversation that should be for the Election Board members only. She also said having about a dozen extra election staff in the office makes working conditions for her regular staff complicated.

The commissioners said they will consider the request when looking at setting next year’s holiday calendar.

She also requested a pay increase for poll workers including clerks, judges, and inspectors next year and the commissioners were supportive of the increase. 

The final request from the County Clerk was for new poll pads.  She told the commissioners the current poll pads can’t receive updates.  Purchasing new poll pads is $11,280.  Bennitt said she put them in her budget for 2024 and said delivery could happen in December with payment needed in January 2024.  She said they will utilize the old poll pad by offering voters a chance to look at the sample ballot before actually stepping into the voting booth to cast their ballot.   

The County Commissioners were supportive of the purchase pending County Council approval.