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U.S. Election Assistance Commission Announces Revamped Help America Vote College Program to Encourage Students to Become Poll Workers

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The $1 million grant program is intended to increase poll worker recruitment; Local and state election offices, nonprofit organizations, and accredited colleges are eligible to apply starting Nov. 16 

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) today announced that the agency is rolling out a revamped version of Help America Vote College Program (HAVCP), which provides grants to support poll worker recruitment efforts. These grants were directed by the FY 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act and authorized under the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). The EAC is accepting proposals for HAVCP funding from accredited colleges (including community colleges) and universities, nonprofit organizations, and local and state election offices starting November 16 until December 18. 

Applicants may apply to one of two competitive grant programs: the HAVCP Poll Worker Program and the HAVCP Service Day Mini-Grant Program. Through the HAVCP, funding may be used for programming and events that educate and encourage students enrolled in institutions of higher education to support polling places or offices on Election Day. Eligible activities include the recruitment, training, education, and support of college students serving as nonpartisan poll workers, language assistants, or technical assistants.  

For the HAVCP Service Day Mini-Grant Program, funding may be used for service day events for the recruitment of college students as poll workers on Help America Vote Day and National Poll Worker Recruitment Day in 2024. Interested organizations may submit one application for either the HAVCP Poll Worker Program or the HAVCP Service Day Program, but not both.  

“Elections are the backbone of our great republic, and poll workers are integral in facilitating the democratic process,” said Christy McCormick, Chairwoman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. “Signing up to be a poll worker is another way students can be a part of the voting process, in addition to casting a ballot. We hope this will contribute to the ongoing development of the election workforce for the next generation of voters.” 

"We are so excited to relaunch this program and have the opportunity to connect with students and young people across the country,” said Ben Hovland, Vice Chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. “The EAC’s National Poll Worker Recruitment Day and Help America Vote Day efforts have been highly successful in highlighting the importance and need for poll workers. This grant program is the next step in the EAC’s longstanding goal of increasing civic engagement among all Americans.”  

According to the EAC’s Election Administration and Voting Survey (EAVS), about one million poll workers are needed for a general election. In the face of recent poll worker shortages, the issues of poll worker recruitment, training, and retention became increasingly important. The EAVS reported that roughly just 14% of poll workers deployed during the 2022 general election were between the ages of 18 and 40, indicating a continued need to recruit the next generation of poll workers. By encouraging students to sign up to become poll workers, the EAC hopes to assist in the next election cycle and beyond.  

The HAVCP grants were first created to encourage student participation in elections and to encourage state and local governments to better utilize students as poll workers. Student and youth recruitment efforts can be an asset for election offices during a presidential election year, especially where poll worker shortages may exist.  

The EAC will host several training calls to provide applicants with an overview of the HAVCP programs and application process. To view a full schedule of these calls and to learn more about the Help America Vote College Program, visit  



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. The EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as administers the use of HAVA funds. For more information, visit