United States Election Assistance Comittee

The EAC Official Blog

Posted By EAC Staff on April 23, 2011

Election officials increasingly see value in recruiting college students to serve as poll workers, particularly for their flexible schedules and experience using technology. EAC supports student poll worker recruitment through the HAVA College Program grant, and we recently asked our recipients for tips on setting up and managing a student recruitment program. Here’s what they said:

  • Build a relationship with a political science or public administration professor at a local community or state college. They are likely to have the contacts and interest needed to make the program successful. 

  • Offer to bring voting machines into the classroom to give students a better understanding of how elections work. This makes the training process more interesting and interactive.

  • Partner with marketing professors to develop a marketing campaign aimed at students.

  • Hold poll worker trainings on campus or online so more students can easily attend the training.

  • Make sure all partners are aware of the laws that govern the service of poll workers, such as age, voter registration, and party affiliation requirements.

  • If local laws permit, consider allowing students to volunteer for part of the day, rather than the full Election Day. More students will be able to volunteer this way.

  • Spread the number of student volunteers throughout polling places so they can benefit from the expertise of more seasoned poll workers.

These are just a few ideas to consider when running a college poll worker recruitment program. To learn more about the work of EAC College Program grantees, go here.

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Posted By EAC Staff on January 28, 2011

Election officials in Orange County, Florida used Second Life to train students to serve as poll workers, preserving quality while saving resources in the process. The program was funded by an EAC College Poll Worker grant.

Orange County developed a virtual space in Second Life, an interactive online world, which takes students through a virtual polling place with registration tables, poll books, voting booths, voting machines and other materials often used in polling places.

Through Second Life and Orange County’s partnership with the University of Central Florida and Valencia Community College, students learned to check-in voters as well as about the different types of ballots used through traditional training materials such as PowerPoint presentations.

Second Life is a unique training tool that addresses several unique challenges. For example, scheduling in-person poll worker training can be tough. And typical online trainings didn’t provide first-time poll workers with a realistic sense of the layout and flow of a polling place. Orange County found that combining the virtual experience of polling place activities with traditional training materials was a good solution.

Central Florida ended up training approximately 450 student poll workers, with about 60 of those through Second Life. They plan to follow up and see how the skills students gained differed depending on the type of training method used.

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