Vargo: Riley County has sufficient volunteers for general election

·2 min read

Oct. 4—Riley County Clerk Rich Vargo said the county has enough election workers for the upcoming election after concerns about a shortage last year.

Vargo told the Riley County Commission Monday his department had enough workers for advance voting and Election Day. Nationally, election offices suffered a shortage of workers for last year's presidential election because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said fewer are needed during local elections like this fall's.

"It is a smaller election, so we don't need the volume," Vargo said.

Voter registration is due by Oct. 12 with advance voting starting Oct. 13. Election Day is Nov. 2.

The office will not place mail ballot drop boxes around the county this year.

Several drop boxes were deployed last year to assist with a higher volume of mail-in ballots attributed to the presidential election and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commission also approved filling five election-related positions in the clerk's office. The temporary part-time positions will be filled as needed in preparation for the 2022 elections. Four of the positions are temporary election workers and the last is an as-needed human resources position. The county typically employs these people for six months or less.

The county had previously approved $22,560 for the temporary election workers who would work up to 600 hours per year. Commissioners unanimously approved Vargo's request to increase the number of hours to 1,000 per year. The increase would cost an additional $31,840. The budget already includes $13,600 for the human resources assistant. Vargo said he would manage the cost of the increased hours within his existing budget for 2022 and he was not requesting extra funding to pay for these employees.

— In other business, Chuck Sexton with the Flint Hills Veterans Coalition told the commissioners about a new addition to this year's Veterans Day events. Following the annual parade, Vet Fest will be at City Park. The event will include displays from Fort Riley, booths for veteran and veteran-related organizations, food trucks and bounce houses and other children's activities.

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