Madison County supervisors held steadfast in their position that members of political party executive committees are ineligible to be paid as poll workers during primaries.

Rita Duvall, a former member of the Democratic Executive Committee, appeared before the board on Tuesday asking to be paid for work performed during the June 24 runoff as an election worker.

Duvall contends that she resigned her post on the executive committee on election day and that makes her eligible to be paid.

"Every time I've ever worked as a poll worker I always resign from my position as a committee member," she said. "There have been those in the past who have attempted to scam the system. I am not one of those people."
She added, "I am simply wanting to be compensated for that one evening's work."

However, in her resignation email to the Democratic chairman, Duvall said it was her "48-hour resignation" notice.

"It's an unusual situation," Board of Supervisors Attorney Mike Espy said. "Members will resign their position in order to work the polls to get paid. After the primary is over they'll go back and resume their position on the executive committee."

Espy called it "gaming the system."

He cited an Attorney General's opinion in 2007 requested by then Madison County Board Attorney Ed Brunini over the same issue.

The opinion stated it was a conflict of interest for a committee member in charge of running the election to be paid as an election worker.

"The county conducts the general elections," Espy said. "Why should the county pay for poll workers, in particular, who are executive committee members. When you're on a committee and you resign to get paid and go back to resume your position, it's not in the spirit of the law."

Rob Martin, former Democratic chairman, stood up and defended the practice, saying it was essential to run a fair election.

"Under my watch I allowed people to resign the committee in order to work the polls," he said. "I always prided myself in running fair elections. I would rather have someone who knows and someone who has been trained to work the polls. They swear to run a fair election."

He added, "Yes it's a game, but it's a game because of the way the code is written."

Duvall said she has yet to return to the executive committee before supervisors tabled her request for further information.