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Alabama Association Board of Registrars releases required qualifications

The association released the required qualifications that one must have to become a registrar in Alabama.

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The Alabama Association Board of Registrars released the required qualifications listed in the Alabama Election Handbook that one must have to become a registrar in Alabama. They are: to be a reputable and suitable person, a qualified registered voter, a resident of the county, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and minimum computer and map reading skills.

• Registrars must self-supervise, practice ethics, serve with integrity, be willing to maintain, update, and safe-guard official voter files on a daily bases, work with the public, as well as state, county, and municipal officials, and go above and beyond the requirements listed in the current Alabama Election Handbook.

• Due to the job’s unique myriad of responsibilities, no one can enter a Registrar position and quickly perform the most basic Registrar duties without months of continuous one-on-one guidance from an experienced Registrar and consistent group trainings from Election Systems & Software

• There are many federal mandates a Registrar must consider when processing applications from agencies such as the Department of Human Resources, Health Department, and Medicaid.

• A Registrar will need a minimum of 2 years of experience working as a Registrar to master advanced skills such as: Follow the Administrative Calendar for all elections, research Code of Alabama Chapter 17 & Alabama Election Handbook to stay up to date as election laws change, process Voter Registration applications electronically, maintain the street file system, assign registered voters to their proper precinct, complete redistricting deadlines, process felons, lawfully process registrants with moral turpitude crimes, transfer voters, reject voters to correct county, link duplicate voters, process cross-state duplicates, process deceased voters, administer Photo Voter IDs, documentation notes, process provisional ballots, and other numerous post-election duties.  

• A Registrar must be able to adequately use a phone, voicemail, computer, printer, fax machine, copier, scanner, complete Excel spreadsheets, use Microsoft Outlook, order office supplies according to local county budget, and meet annual Cyber Security & Ethics Training certification deadlines.

• Unlike state employees hired through the State Personnel Department based on qualifications, Registrars are appointed position.

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• In general, in each county there are three registrars appointed by an appointing board consisting of the Governor, State Auditor, and Commissioner of Agriculture & Industries.

• Registrars serve four-year terms and until a successor is appointed.

• There are no term or age limits.

• Currently, many of the state’s Registrars are retired from military service or professional careers, and many hold college degrees.

• On average, Alabama Registrars currently serving are 66 years of age.

• Once appointed, registrars do not serve at the pleasure of the appointing board.

• Registrars may only be removed for cause by the Secretary of State.

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• The appointing board will name one of the registrars to serve as chair.

• The chair has no more authority than any other registrar and cannot exercise any supervision or management over their office.

• Every 4 years, and shortly prior to a presidential election, there is a possibility an entire Board of Registrars will begin with all 3 inexperienced Registrars at the same time and will share equal authority.

• If one experienced Registrar is reappointed, they are required to train the new registrar(s) but will have no management/supervisor authority over the office or pay increase.

• Since 1903, little progress has been made to adequately compensate Registrars to reflect current cost of living expenses, increase in work load, or advancement in technology.

• Each county is responsible for paying their registrars one time a month and are reimbursed by the state.

• Registrars are considered state employees for social security purposes.

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• The Secretary of State’s Office began conducting annual Registrar evaluations in 2020 and posting individual scores on their website.

• Each Registrar is paid the same daily rate by the state, with no opportunity for promotions or pay increases, regardless of level of education, work experience, years served, level of work load, or exceptional performance evaluation scores.

• After 20 years of no pay increases, in 2016 Registrars’ pay of $60/day increased to $80/day.

• The state pays each Registrar from the 9 full-time Boards around $20,800/year

• The state pays each Registrar from the 10 Boards with the fewest allowed working days around $9,600/year.

• The state pays each Registrar from the remaining 47 Boards (excluding Jefferson County) between $10,000 – $20,000 per year.

• Currently, all Board of Registrars’ offices are open regular hours Monday – Friday.

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• On each Election day, Registrars are required to work from 7am -7pm and are paid $80 for a 12-hour work day or $6.66/hour.

• If a Registrar works court house hours, they earn $10/hour before taxes.  

• If a Registrar works a 4-hour shift, they earn $20/hour before taxes. 

• Registrars are not allowed annual leave or sick leave days.

• On state holidays, Registrars are only entitled to their pay if a work day falls on a legal state holiday and their county courthouse is also closed for that holiday.

• If a Registrar for any reason cannot work, they do not get paid, and nor do the Registrars who must work overtime to pick up the slack.

• The state does not provide any health, dental, or retirement benefits for Registrars.

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• A county commission MAY allow the Registrars who have served at least 16 years to participate in their county health insurance program, but most do not allow it. (only the 9 full-time Boards qualify)

• Currently, there are only about 4 counties in the state that provide medical/dental insurance for their Registrars.

• Currently, there is only one county that provides retirement for their Registrars.

• Laws passed in the legislature sets the maximum number of working days an individual Registrar can work.

• The maximum number of working days the state allows each board varies considerably.

• There are 10 Board of Registrars allowed the lowest number of working days at 120 maximum working days per year.  

• There are 9 Board of Registrars allowed to work 5 days a week.  

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• The maximum number of working days a Board is allowed is not based on the number of registered voters within that county.

• Greene County has the least number of registered voters in the state at around 6,500, and their Registrars are allowed a maximum of 168 working days/year.

• Bullock County has about 7,100 registered voters, least low after Greene County, and their Registrars are allowed a maximum of 216 working days/year.

• Chilton County has over 30,000 registered voters, and their Board of Registrars can work full-time.

• Blount County has about 42,000 registered voters and are allowed a maximum of 168 working days/year.  

• St. Clair has around 69,000 registered voters, and their Registrars can work full-time.

• Houston County has almost 80,000 registered voters and are allowed a maximum of 216 working days/year.

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• Tuscaloosa County has almost 149,000 registered voters and are allowed a maximum of 216 working days/year.

• Shelby County has about 169,000 registered voters, and their Registrars are allowed a maximum of 167 working days/year.

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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