2019 Elections

Voting Inspectors are Needed in Syracuse

By Sarah Al-Shaikh, BDJ 664.02

Published on November 6, 2019

Voting inspectors are being overworked because there are not enough of them. Video produced by (c) 2019 Sarah Al-Shaikh.

Show Video Transcript

Cathy Hynson: I was jumping back and forth between the two tables because we are shorthanded.

Reporter: Cathy Hynson is the poll cite manager at P.E.A.C.E Inc. in East Syracuse. She says they have three voting inspectors… they’re supposed to have 6. Hynson says mistakes can happen when someone’s trying to do two jobs.

Cathy Hynson: You have to pay attention to what you’re doing. It takes a little bit of attention to detail. So as you jump back and forth between jobs, it’s easy for those details to get lost.

Reporter: Hynson only recently has been able to vote after becoming a United States citizen three years ago. And now, she’s helping others vote.

Cathy Hynson: The first time I voted I saw the sign that said we need help and I got involved.

Reporter: Voting inspectors make sure the votes being casted are valid and collected properly. For some people, they want to help out with voting, but in a different way.

Brenda Jones: Voters day I want to be out on the field. Bootstraps on the ground. Not inside.

Reporter: Brenda Jones is a teacher at Southside Academy. She says she’d rather be encouraging people to vote. She tried being a voting inspector and while it wasn’t her thing… she says she didn’t leave empty handed.

Brenda Jones: I learned some new skills, and it was very technical. Something I needed to know.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – Polling locations across Syracuse are filled with new iPads making it easier for voters to sign in. Something polling locations are not filled with are voting inspectors.

Cathy Hynson is the Poll Site Manager at P.E.A.C.E Inc in East Syracuse and she said they have three voting inspectors when they really need six.

“We’re very very short of people,” Hynson said.

Hynson said this impacts how well they’re able to do their job.

“It means mistakes can happen because somebody’s trying to do two jobs. They’re trying to jump back and forth,” Hynson said.

While today was the last day for voting, Hynson and the other voting inspectors thought ahead about future elections and how difficult it would be.

“We were just discussing among ourselves what that would look like next year for the presidential election, and it would be just about impossible to run this site with three people,” Hynson said.

Someone who tried to be a voting inspector, but it wasn’t their cup of tea was Brenda Jones. Jones is a teacher at Southside Academy and she said she’d much rather be encouraging people to vote and driving them to the polls.

“I have done it in the past and I felt like I was missing out on the action,” Jones said.

While Jones herself might not become a voting inspector again, she said she’d spread the word.

“I will put it out there that they’re looking for new inspectors,” Jones said.

Voting inspectors are paid $190 a day, and work 17 hour shifts.

For more information on becoming a voting inspector in Onondaga County visit: http://www.ongov.net/elections/electionInspectors.html