Pontotoc County Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to alter the employment policies for all temporary election board workers. The move comes after the Internal Revenue Service revised its policy for those workers, requiring the change.

The change centers on the source of funding for temporary election board workers.

“We used to pay all election expenses through a special fund,” said Elections Board Secretary Marilyn McDaniel. “But after this reinterpretation of the rules, we can’t do that anymore.”

McDaniel said the change affects board members who receive the state-mandated $35 payment for their service and temporary personnel who work in the office on election night. They will now be compensated as part of the county’s payroll.

The measure approved by commissioners exempts these workers from county-mandated drug and alcohol testing requirements and makes them ineligible for county health benefits.

McDaniel said the cost of drug and alcohol screening would exceed the amount paid to the workers, many of whom are elderly, longtime helpers who only work one day a year.

“The old way was simpler,” she said. “But this is the way we have to do it, so we’re going to do it the correct way.”

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