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Minneapolis’ Student Election Judge Program Honored with a “Clearie” Award

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Nov 28, 2017

U.S. Election Assistance Commission National Award Commemorates Best Practices in Election Administration

Silver Spring, Md. – The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today announced that the city of Minneapolis has won a national competition recognizing best practices in election administration. Minneapolis was selected for its work to recruit, train and retain election workers. Born of the commission’s mandate to serve as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration, the EAC’s annual “Clearie” awards recognize outstanding innovations in election administration that can serve as examples to other officials and jurisdictions. 

Since 1991, the Minneapolis Student Election Judge Program has engaged high school students ages 16 and older as poll workers on Election Day. These students receive the same training as and work alongside adult election judges, performing all the same duties at the same rate of pay. In doing so, the program: 

  • Increases the number of election judges who are bilingual in targeted languages.

  • Addresses the need for tech-adept poll workers. 

  • Increases the ethnic and age diversity of Minneapolis election judges to better reflect the face of the community. 

  • Provides high school students with increased connections to their community and helps them attain civic skills and dispositions. 

The Student Election Judge Program has been growing, expanding from 162 student election judges in 2014, to 352 during the 2016 general election. For the 2017 municipal election, 291 student election judges were assigned across Minneapolis’ 132 precincts and accounted for more than 10 percent of the city’s election workforce. 

“These awards celebrate the very best in election practices across the nation,” said EAC Chairman Matthew Masterson. “As we travel throughout the country, our commission sees first-hand the innovation and commitment to excellence that election officials and their partners bring to their work. These awards acknowledge that work and highlight best practices that other election administrations can emulate.”

Recruiting poll workers can often be a challenge for election officials. According to a research brief released in November 2017 by the EAC, nearly 65 percent of jurisdictions around the country reported it was “very difficult” or “somewhat difficult” to obtain a sufficient number of poll workers. Even more challenging is recruiting a team of election workers that reflect the diversity of the community they will serve on Election Day.

For more information about the “Clearies” or to speak with Chairman Masterson, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at bsoder@eac.gov or 202-897-9285. 

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The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). It is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with ensuring secure, accurate and accessible elections by developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as administers the use of HAVA funds. For more information, visit www.eac.gov.  

Contact: Brenda Bowser Soder
Phone: 202-897-9285
 
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