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City of Ely Wins National Award for Election Worker Training Model Connecting Veterans and High School Students to Serve at the Polls

Press Releases

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s Annual “Clearie” Awards Recognize Outstanding Innovations in Elections, and Best Practices in Accessibility and Recruiting, Training and Retaining Election Workers


Silver Spring, Md. – The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today announced that the City of Ely, Minnesota was the recipient of a 2018 “Clearie” Award for Recruiting, Training and Retaining Election Workers. The City of Ely received the award for a program that recruits high school students and veterans to work at the polls together on Election Day. Born of the EAC’s mandate to serve as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration, the annual “Clearie” awards recognize best practices in election administration and highlight exemplary models which can serve as examples to other officials and jurisdictions.

“Election officials are some of the greatest civic leaders our nation has to offer,” said EAC Chairman Thomas Hicks. “They are the stewards of the bedrock of our democracy, who often implement innovative solutions with limited budgets and zero margin for error. The annual Clearie awards gives the EAC an opportunity to recognize their vital contributions on a national stage and highlight best practices within the field of election administration. Each recipient of this award represents the very best of what it means to be an election administrator. We at the EAC applaud them for their dedication, and hope their work can serve as an example to others.”   

In partnership with “Walking Civics,” a local nonprofit, the City of Ely recruits high school students and veterans to be trained and serve together at the polls on Election Day. This training model recognizes veterans have already “walked the talk” in answering the call to serve their country and is intended to inspire civic virtue, train competent election workers and link generations in service to elections. The session provided stellar training and a deep meaning for both veterans and high school students, preparing a new generation of election workers who will be on the front line of elections now and into the future.

Now in its third year, the “Clearie” awards recognize the innovative efforts of election officials across America. Entries were judged based on each initiative’s efficacy, innovation, sustainability, outreach efforts, cost-effectiveness and replicability.

This year’s Clearie awards are dedicated to the life and legacy of Wendy Noren and R. Brian Lewis. Wendy Noren served as the Clerk of Boone County, Mo., for over three decades and was a member of the EAC’s Board of Advisors before passing away in March 2018 following a long battle with cancer. R. Brian Lewis served as Counsel to the Office of the Senate Majority Leader and the Senate Rules and Administration Committee before his passing, and was an early and steadfast proponent of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and election officials. Both were luminaries in the field of election administration who will long be remembered for their hard work, integrity and friendship.

For more information about the “Clearies” or to speak with Chairman Hicks, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at [email protected] 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  


Contact: Brenda Bowser Soder

Phone: 202-897-9285

Email: [email protected]  


Clearinghouse Awards, poll workers