Lee County poll workers getting extra cash

William DeShazer/Staff
Lee Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington tries to hold back tears as she apologizes to voters for long lines at the polls during a press conference at her offices in Fort Myers on Wednesday Nov. 6, 2012. Voters waited in lines for up to six hours.

Photo by WILLIAM DESHAZER, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

William DeShazer/Staff Lee Supervisor of Elections Sharon Harrington tries to hold back tears as she apologizes to voters for long lines at the polls during a press conference at her offices in Fort Myers on Wednesday Nov. 6, 2012. Voters waited in lines for up to six hours.

Video from NBC-2

Watch this Sunday morning's edition of "Naples Daily NewsMakers with Jeff Lytle" at 10 on ABC7 for an interview with Lee County Elections Supervisor Sharon Harrington. The video will be available at naplesnews.com/newsmakers on Monday.

Mike Hornack stood on his 77-year-old legs for 15 hours on Election Day, manning a Bonita Springs precinct.

Although the polls didn’t open until 7 a.m., Hornack arrived at 5:30 a.m. to help set up — as he has for the last 15 years.

He waited with voters, some in line for 45 minutes, fielded their complaints and occasionally received a “thank you” for his dedication.

But for his commitment and tolerance amid the scanning problems this past Election Day, which kept some voters in lines for hours, he’s receiving a financial thanks from the Lee County Supervisor of Elections office. He along with more than 1,500 poll-workers are getting a $50 bonus, Sharon Harrington, Lee County Supervisor of Elections said. The bonus is in addition to the $140 to $250 paid to poll workers.

“I just felt it was something we needed to do, “ Harrington said. “They were facing the brunt of angry voters, the disappointed voters, and were taking a lot of the heat. It’s just to let them know we appreciate what they did, the sacrifice they made.”

The checks went out on Monday and some poll-workers have already received their bonuses. Hornack hasn’t yet, but was thrilled to hear the news.

“I’ll probably invest it,” Hornack said, laughing. “In a dinner.”

Harrington said the bonuses are one-time gesture and serve as a simple way to retain poll workers for the next election. She said the money was taken from the budget and will not be an extra cost taxpayers. She also added the money sent out in bonuses couldn’t be used to purchase new scanners, since that needs to be approved by the Board of County Commissioners as a capital investment.

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