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National Civic Summit - Dr. Ruth A. Charles, Josh Malchow, and Eric Wahl
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National Civic Summit - Dr. Ruth A. Charles, Josh Malchow, and Eric Wahl


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  • 1. Developing Students to Be Public Servants National Civic Summit - July 2009 Dr. Ruth A. Charles, Josh Malchow, Eric Wahl Winona State University, MN;
  • 2. Hanging Chads?
  • 3. 2000 Election - Florida
  • 4. Voter Intent?
  • 5. Poll Workers/Election Judges • Resident of state and registered voter • Signed up to work • National average age 72 years • Voluntary Public Servants
  • 6. Class Project- Election Judge • My own experience • 2006- 10 students; 2008- 75 students • U.S. Election Assistance Commission grant- “Help America Vote: College Poll Worker Program” • Federal Priority to get more people involved.
  • 7. Being an Election Judge • Made it a class assignment • Individuals had to apply and receive a position as an election judge • Had to be trained by city/county staff on being an election judge • Grant assisted in mileage and lodging • Pre/post surveys (n=75) “Carnegie Foundation Political Engagement Survey” • Focus groups (n=66)
  • 8. Non-Partisan Service Learning Activity • Registration for poll worker requires declaring a political party • Issue of party balancing at the polls – Only visible when there is a voter who needs help • Fairness • Importance of human dignity regardless of political affiliation
  • 9. Sample • 75 students- all FT undergraduate, • 80% 18-24 yrs old with 75% of them women, • 75% A/B students, • 34 SWK students, 41 other majors, • 79% employed while going to school, • 87% majority ethnic status.
  • 10. Sample (continued) • 95% had never been an election judge before, • 97% did the general election, while 25% did both the primary and general election. • 71% did it outside of their own precinct. • 929 hours served to community
  • 11. What was your overall experience as an election judge?
  • 12. How much effect do election judges have in ensuring election administration is fair, accessible, and accurate?
  • 13. Would you ever be an election judge if it weren’t for this class assignment? (n=66)
  • 14. Encouraged students to express their own political opinions
  • 15. Guide students to understand the connections between course material and current issues and problems in our society
  • 16. Help students consider political issues from a variety of perspectives
  • 17. MN Secretary of State: Desired Qualifications of an Election Judge • Ability to communicate clearly with voters • Comfortable with assisting and serving a diverse population • Ability to remain impartial and not exert influence over voters • Physical and emotional stamina • Attention to detail • General math skills • Fluency in a second language •
  • 18. Misunderstandings regarding Election Judges’ qualifications • 1- You do not need to be a senior citizen to be a election judge. • 2- It is not volunteering, but a paid position. • 3- Party Balancing at the polling places does not mean that you need to promote a political party at the polls. • 4-MN law supports getting time off to work at the polls.