Election judges, clerks will receive pay bump in Gonzales County


Gonzales County’s presiding election judges and election clerks will get a small bump in pay beginning in February after action taken Monday, Jan. 8, by the Gonzales County Commissioners Court.

Commissioners agreed to raise the salary of election judges from $12 per hour to $15 per hour and for election clerks from $12 to $14 per hour, starting Feb. 1.

Gonzales County Elections Administrator Gwen Schaefer and Gonzales County Republican Party Chair Liz Hernandez spoke to commissioners at Monday’s regular meeting about the difficulty that exists in finding election workers and the need to pay more to those who have more responsibility.

“Right now, all the way across the board, everybody gets paid $12 (per hour), whether you're a presiding judge or a clerk,” Schaefer said. “Both chairs asked me if we could move it up because they do a lot of work. In my opinion, the judges need to be at least $1 more (per hour) than the clerks because they do more.”

Schaefer said the estimated cost for the 2024 election, including both the primary and general elections, was expected to be $18,000, not including any overtime expenses. Increasing the pay for election workers as requested would increase the cost by about $3,000 to $21,000, she said.

“We always have trouble, no matter what, getting people to work the election,” Schaefer said. “I think even if we paid $20 per hour, we’d still have trouble because nobody wants to be responsible for working an election.”

“I'm talking to the teacher at the high school with the civics and government class and they want to get the high school kids involved in the process of the elections and kids are driven by money,” Hernandez said. “If we could give them just a little bit more money, it could be an incentive. And I know that now we have longer hours, including from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on some weekends, and we re already having trouble securing those positions, so this would be somewhat of an incentive to get them out.”

Gonzales County Judge Pat Davis noted the state mandates the county must pay $12 per hour for election workers and pays the county back that amount for its expenses. However, if the county does decide to pay workers more than that amount, that cost difference is borne by the county.

“In other elections, (cities and school boards) would be responsible for their part,” Davis added.

Commissioners also approved a contract between Gonzales County and the Republican and Democratic parties for a joint March 5 primary election. If a runoff election is necessary, it would be held May 28.