Vol 56 No. 15 | Nov. 2004
Grant Helped Recruit Students to Work the Polls on Election Day
Hundreds of students from CSULB worked at polling locations throughout Los Angeles County on Election Day and many of those volunteers were there as the result of a grant from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).
CSULB's Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) received a $25,000 grant from the EAC through its Help America Vote, College Poll Worker Program. In all, the commission awarded $627,000 nationwide, and the grantees have been using the funds to encourage students enrolled at institutions of higher education to assist state and local governments in the administration of elections by serving as nonpartisan poll workers or assistants.
"There were 90 grant proposals submitted to the Election Assistance Commission, but only 15 of the them were funded. And, our proposal was one of only two from California that received a grant," said Brigette Young, development associate for ASI. "This was a brand new grant program created by the EAC. So we decided to try for it, and we are very happy to be one of the initial grant recipients."
One of the greatest challenges facing election officials throughout the country is having sufficient numbers of poll workers. This program helped fill the gap and encouraged students to work the polls on Election Day.
The CSULB project focused on the message, "Love me. I'm a poll worker," in encouraging students to sign up for the election-day festivities. Also, 11 professors from the Political Science Department provided support, giving information to their students about becoming poll workers and pitching the role of students and civic responsibility in the election process. Those professors excused participating students from class on Nov. 2, and they gave extra credit to any student who served as a poll worker.
In addition, ASI sponsored a contest involving the more than 200 recognized student clubs and organizations on campus. The contest awarded a cash prize of $2,500 to the student organization that had the most participation of poll workers on Election Day.
According to Young, some 800 CSULB students (600 from the Political Science Department) filled out poll worker application forms. She also pointed out that more than 200 students attended the two poll worker training sessions that were held at the campus.
"While we won't have the final numbers on students serving as poll workers for a little while, we're extremely pleased with how well the program is going," Young said. "We hope our students will continue to serve as poll workers after they have graduated from Cal State Long Beach."
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission is an independent bipartisan agency created by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. The commission is charged with administering voluntary guidelines for election requirements under HAVA, serving as a "national clearinghouse and resource for the comparison of information" on various matters regarding election administration procedures, including testing and certification of election equipment and administering the Election Assistance and Help American Vote programs.
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