Voting machine. (RI photo)

A new report finds poll worker pay for the 2020 Primary and General Elections in at least a dozen counties was either not approved by the county’s board of supervisors or was higher than authorized.

The review was launched after news reports that Scott County’s auditor had approved paying precinct election workers $15 an hour. That exceeded the $10 an hour rate approved by the Scott County Board of Supervisors. State Auditor Rob Sand’s office reviewed poll worker pay in Scott County and 15 other counties.

The report cites seven counties for either paying poll workers more than had been approved by the county’s board of supervisors or providing something like unapproved small bonuses for working during a pandemic. Five of the 16 counties had no documentation of board of supervisors approval of election workers’ pay. The state auditor’s report also indicates eight counties had discrepancies in calculating the number of hours or mileage reimbursements for poll workers in 2020.

Find the 22 page report here.

Under state law, temporary election workers are technically temporary state employees being paid by the counties. The state auditor’s report recommends that the secretary of state’s office develop new procedures to monitor poll worker pay. None of the discrepancies from 2020 that are cited in the report are subject to new fines the legislature approved in 2021 for election-related infractions.

The following counties were included in the state auditor’s review: Adams, Black Hawk, Boone, Cerro Gordo, Clayton, Des Moines, Dickinson, Harrison, Howard, Linn, Louisa, Polk, Pottawattamie, Poweshiek, Ringgold and Scott.