Elections officials looking to improve efficiency on election day should look no further than the nearest college, university or community college according to a recent study of the college poll worker program in Chicago. Among other things, the Student Leaders in Elections: A Case Study in College Poll Worker Recruitment found that recruiting college poll workers helps improve the transmission of election results, makes it easier to staff polling places in need because students aren’t married to a location and students who served as bilingual poll workers are more likely to serve in future elections. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission has long supported the practice of college poll workers and one of the recommendations of Presidential Commission on Election Administration was for jurisdictions to recruit more college students as poll workers.
But how effective are they and given the notorious disinterest of Millennials, how do you recruit them? Following the PCEA recommendation, in 2014 and 2015, the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (CLCCRUL) set out to find the answers. “…having read the PCEA report, we realized that we could help improve election administration and engage our target population through a program like this,” explained Ruth Greenwood, lead attorney, Voting Rights Project, CLCCRUL.
“The Chicago Board of Elections expressed interest in a college student program, so we took on the challenge to try to prove that a large college student program using modern technology — email and online signups, online trainings, etc. — could work effectively to engage our target demographic and to improve election administration.”
Chicago actually began the college poll worker program in 2000 with just 100 students and since 2006 as many as 1,700 college poll workers are at the polls during any given election. Last year — when the Board teamed up CLCCRUL — was the first time there was ever a forceful recruitment effort on campuses across the city.
Full Article: electionlineWeekly.