Primary election workers in St. Lawrence County still waiting for paycheck

Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 4:29 PM EDT
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CANTON, New York (WWNY) - Primary Day was on June 27. More than 250 people who worked as election inspectors in St. Lawrence County have yet to be paid.

Earlier this year, the county had to follow state law requiring election inspectors to change from being a paid vendor to becoming part-time county employees.

Election inspector Susan McHeffey says she filled out the necessary paperwork in May, worked Primary Day, and is still waiting for the paycheck.

“You wait so long anyway. We work long hours and nobody wants to wait a month and a half for a paycheck. Nobody. But once we get this HR stuff filled out and in place, we should get paid like we normally used to. But when people aren’t getting paid, they’re not going to continue to be electors,” said McHeffey.

County Democratic Elections Commissioner Jennie Bacon says the Board of Elections appreciates the workers and is doing everything it can to get them paid.

“I know it’s very frustrating for all of them. It’s frustrating for my staff; it’s frustrating for payroll. It’s a long process that we’re trying to get through and make it. Everyone will be paid. We’ll get there and we’re helping with anybody who needs help with their paperwork. We’re always here to help them,” she said.

Republican Elections Commissioner Thomas Nichols says he has no doubt that everyone will be paid and chalks this up to a lack of communication.

“This is the transition period that’s going to be a problem because the county did not express its intent to either our office or to the employees - the vendors. So it’s important that we’ve all got to be on the same page and the board of elections needs to be aware when the county wants to change its policy ahead of time so we can make sure we have everyone on the same page,” he said.

The county had 259 inspectors working on Primary Day. That number can climb to as many as 400 for some elections.