FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
LUC Awarded Grant from the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission
Funds to Be Used to Recruit Students on Election Day
CHICAGO, June 16, 2008 – Hoping to engage young voters and add to the pool of poll workers across the country, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) recently awarded Loyola University Chicago more than $30,000 in grant money to recruit students to serve as poll workers during the upcoming presidential election. The grant allows the University to sponsor and advertise an on-campus student organization recruitment contest, provide transportation to training sessions, and cover transportation expenses incurred by students on Election Day.
In February 2008, Loyola’s Division of Public Affairs worked with Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office to recruit and train 150 college students to serve as equipment managers for the primary election. Following this successful initiative, Loyola submitted its grant proposal to the EAC with a commitment to secure more than 300 student poll workers for the November 4 presidential election. The grant proposal, written primarily by Loyola senior Jennifer De Neal, focused on the need for students to become involved in the electoral process and to promote civic engagement at a fundamental level.
“We’re very pleased to see that Loyola was awarded this grant from the EAC,” said David Orr, Cook County Clerk. “They were a huge asset during the February primary election, and we look forward to working with their students again. We were truly impressed with how quickly they adapted to our new voting technology, while also working with our other election officials to be sure the day went as smoothly as possible.”
In Cook County, equipment managers receive intensive training—more than a regular election judge—and are responsible for setting up and handling all issues involving the election equipment at their polling place. The success of a polling place depends greatly upon the skill of the equipment manager in handling any technical problems that may arise.
“Recruiting, training, and retaining poll workers continues to be a challenge,” said EAC Chair Rosemary E. Rodriguez in a recent statement. “The need for these dedicated Americans will be even more crucial in November, when we expect a record turnout. These grant programs will help not only recruit more poll workers for November, but also recruit the next generation of poll workers by focusing on recruiting and educating younger Americans about the importance of civic participation on Election Day.”
“Our students’ positive experiences during the February election really drove us to this next stage of the process,” said De Neal. “Throughout the primary season, we’ve seen the importance of America’s young voters, and working as a poll worker is just another step that we can take to be a part of the process.”
The U.S. EAC, through its Help America Vote College Program, hopes to ease the poll worker shortages seen in the 2004 election, when 5.8 percent of polling places and 4 percent of precincts reported having too few poll workers (according to the EAC Election Day Survey). This is the program’s third year, and in 2004 and 2006, its grantees brought in more than 5,000 students to serve as poll workers. This year’s grantees, a total of 27 colleges and non-profit organizations from 18 states, will be striving to add to that number.
At Loyola, non-grant-funded recruitment efforts kick off this summer and include providing information on the opportunity to incoming freshmen during orientation. Formal recruitment efforts funded by the grant will begin on August 25 when all students return to campus.
About the U.S. Election Assistance Commission
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is an independent, bipartisan commission created by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. EAC is operating the federal government’s first voting system certification program. It issues guidance about HAVA, adopts voluntary voting system guidelines, audits the use of HAVA funds, and provides best practices and resources to election officials throughout the nation. EAC also administers a national clearinghouse of information about election administration and maintains the national mail voter registration form.
About Loyola University Chicago
Committed to preparing people to lead extraordinary lives, Loyola University Chicago was founded in 1870 and is the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic university. Loyola has a total enrollment of more than 15,500 students, which includes nearly 10,000 undergraduates hailing from all 50 states and 82 foreign countries. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy. Loyola also serves as the U.S. host university to the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies in Beijing, China. Loyola’s ten schools and colleges include arts and sciences, business administration, communication, education, graduate studies, law, medicine, nursing, continuing and professional studies, and social work. Loyola offers 71 undergraduate majors, 71 undergraduate minors, 85 master’s degrees, and 31 doctoral degrees. Recognizing Loyola’s excellence in education, U.S.News & World Report has ranked Loyola consistently among the “top national universities,” and named the University a “best value” in its 2008 rankings. For more information, please visit LUC.edu.