Civic Engagement and Technology: Recruiting College Student Poll Workers

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This paper asks the question: what type of student works the polls on Election Day? Recruiting competent and available poll workers has become an issue of national concern as both national and state-level policy changes mandate that electronic voting systems be in place and available to voters. College campuses are fertile ground for recruiting poll workers who are comfortable with high technology voting systems and who are encouraged to participated in extracurricular and co-curricular civic engagement activities. The push to recruit college student poll workers is reinforced by current poll worker characteristics. First and foremost, the average age of poll workers nationally is 72. Second, and related, college students are, as a group, more technologically savvy than are older generations. Students who work the polls may continue doing so for the next several decades. This means that recruiting younger poll workers will address short and long term election-related needs.
In this paper, the authors propose to better predict the type of student that is likely to get involved in this type of civic engagement activity based on recruited students who worked the polls in November 2006. In discerning the type of student likely to work the polls on Election Day, future recruitment efforts will be enhanced. For example, targeting efforts might be redirected should we find that students enrolled in particular majors are more likely than others to work the polls (recruitment took place campus-wide). We may also find that students who had classes scheduled on Election Day were less likely to work compared with those who did have classes scheduled on Election Day. Such a result would speak to a concern about retaining Tuesday as the national Election Day in light of current and emerging poll worker needs.


Keywords: Civic Engagement, Technology, Youth
Stream: Human Technologies and Usability, Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Terri Susan Fine

Professor, Political Science, University of Central Florida
Orlando, Florida, USA

Terri Susan Fine is Professor of Political Science at the University of Central Florida, where she has taught for over 18 years. Her key areas of research interest include political participation and political communication in the United States. She is particularly interested in how minority populations respond to their political environments, while at the same time questions how elite political organizations communicate with the public through print media. She is currently working on a long term project that considers how Jewish female state legislators navigate their majoritarian electoral and legislative environments. She has received eight teaching awards and one university-wide award each for professional service, faculty leadership and academic advising. She has participated and secured grant monies from such agencies as PEW Charitable Trust, the Elections Assistance Commission, and Brandeis University Institute for the Study of Gender and Judaism.

Dr. Aubrey Jewett

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Central Florida
Orlando, Florida, USA

Aubrey Jewett is Associate Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Central Florida, where he has taught for the past 12 years. His areas of research specialization include state and local politics, Florida politics and legislative politics. He is the co-author of "Politics in Florida" with Thomas Dye and Susan MacManus, as well as the author of several articles and book chapters. He received the American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship and was awarded the Leon Weaver Award by the Representation and Electoral Systems Section of the American Political Science Association for the best paper presented at the 2001 annual meeting.

Ref: T08P0265