Thursday, October 29, 2009

HU Awarded Grant for Student Poll Workers

Hampton University has been awarded a $74,055 grant from the Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) 2009 Help America Vote College Program. Through the grant, HU will recruit the next generation of poll workers, training students to work the polls for the 2009 and 2010 elections.

Through the grant, HU will educate student poll workers through a curriculum on democracy and election processes. The university will also host mock elections to prepare student recruits on their upcoming duties. Students from Thomas Nelson Community College will also be recruited.

Of the 71 programs that applied for monies, the EAC awarded a total of $749,000 to 11 colleges and universities and two non-profit organizations, including HU. Individual amounts ranged from $20,000-$75,000.

Poll workers play a critical role in the election process – responsible for the set up of polling place materials and equipment, checking voters’ registration, and demonstrating how to use voting systems. The program seeks to ease the shortage of poll workers, a problem in the 2004 election, where 5.8 percent of polling places and four percent of precincts reported having too few poll workers, according to the 2004 EAC Election Day Survey.

“We are excited about the college poll worker program because too many young people are disengaged from the political process,” said Dr. Mamie Locke, dean of the School of Liberal Arts and professor of political science. “By serving as a poll worker students can be a part of democracy at work and witness directly the importance of voting in the process.”

The EAC was created by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and the College Program grants are authorized by this act.

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