(a) The appointing board, or a majority of them acting as an appointing board, not more than 20 nor less than 15 days before the holding of any election in their county, shall appoint from the qualified electors of the respective precinct, necessary precinct election officials, which shall include at least one inspector, to act at each voting place in each precinct. The appointing board may appoint the number of precinct election officials necessary for each precinct, provided that, absent consent of the county commission, the total number of precinct election officials appointed in a county shall not exceed the total number of precinct election officials who were paid by the county for the general election held November 2004. In the event that the number of precincts or voting places utilized in an election within a county is increased or decreased, the total number of officials who may be appointed without consent of the county commission shall be increased or decreased proportionately based upon the average number of workers utilized in each precinct or polling place within the county. In the event that the county changes voting equipment from that used in the November 2004 election, the total number of precinct election officials the appointing board may appoint shall be the average number of precinct election officials per precinct or polling place utilized statewide for the general election held in November 2004, multiplied by the number of precincts or polling places in the county changing voting equipment; provided, however, that the number of precinct election officials appointed for any precinct in the county may be increased with the consent of the county commission. Members of a candidate's immediate family to the second degree of kinship by affinity or consanguinity and any member of a candidate's principal campaign committee are not eligible for appointment.
(b) The precinct election officials shall have the following duties:
(1) The inspector shall be in charge of the voting place and shall serve as returning officer for the voting place.
(2) The registration list clerk shall check the name of voters against the list of registered voters and mark off the names of those who vote in order to prevent double voting. If any person whose name does not appear on the list of registered voters is permitted to vote by means of a certificate as provided in Section 17-10-3, or by means of a provisional ballot as provided in Sections 17-10-1 and 17-10-2, the registration list clerk shall legibly print the name and address on the list of registered voters, mark through the name to indicate that the person has voted, and record by the name whether the person voted by certificate, with source and date, or by provisional ballot.
(3) The poll list clerk shall ensure that each voter signs the poll list as provided in Sections 17-9-15 and 17-13-7. A clerk shall print the voter's name on the poll list or a duplicate list so that the signature can be identified. The poll list clerk shall give a ballot to the voter with the stub attached to the ballot pad. Ballots shall be given out in sequence beginning with the lowest numbered ballot.
(4) The ballot clerk, upon the request of a voter, shall assist the voter as necessary to deposit the ballot in the precinct ballot counter.
(c) Any person who is compensated for working at the polls during any returning, other than an inspector appointed under subsection (a), may work on a split shift schedule if determined necessary by the judge of probate. Each portion of a split shift shall consist of not less than six consecutive hours of work and the worker shall be paid one-half of the per day compensation provided for by general or local law in the county.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a), the judge of probate or other appropriate election officials in a county, may provide for the appointment of additional inspectors and clerks from within the county at-large to serve as alternates in the event an appointed inspector or clerk is unable to perform his or her duties. First priority shall be given for the appointment of alternates who are registered voters at the precinct where a vacancy exists. The number of alternates shall be limited as provided herein and no payment shall be provided for alternates in excess of the number authorized in this subsection. In a county with a population of less than 100,000 inhabitants, the judge of probate or other appropriate election officials in the county may provide for the appointment and payment of up to four alternate inspectors, clerks, or returning officers; in a county with a population of 100,000 to 250,000 inhabitants, the judge of probate or other appropriate election officials in the county may provide for the appointment and payment of up to 12 alternate inspectors, clerks, or returning officers; and in a county with a population of more than 250,000 inhabitants, the judge of probate or other appropriate election officials in the county may provide for the appointment and payment of up to 24 alternate inspectors, clerks, or returning officers. The appointment and payment of alternates shall be election expenses eligible for reimbursement by the state Comptroller pursuant to general law.