Student Poll Workers Help Election Administration

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration recommends that jurisdictions recruit student volunteers to address staffing shortages and operational inefficiencies on Election Day, and multiple jurisdictions have recently implemented student poll worker programs. According to the most recent Election Administration and Voting Survey, less than 10 percent of poll workers in the 2014 election cycle were under age 26, and roughly 20 percent of jurisdictions categorized poll worker recruitment as somewhat or highly difficult.

A recent report found that Chicago’s student poll worker program had measurable impacts on the elections process. Precincts with student volunteers transmitted results 9 to 18 percent faster; precincts with two student volunteers transmitted results 30 to 40 percent faster.

The report also included recruitment statistics suggesting that the program may have long-term impacts on students’ civic engagement: Seventy-three percent of students who volunteered in a second election went on to volunteer a third time. 

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