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A push to spark interest among future voters

Evergreen Valley high school students learn to use a touch screen voting machine during a training sesssion to prepare them to work the polls on the school’s campus in San Jose, Calif. on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2004. The students _ most too young to vote _ will serve as poll workers in San Jose. U.S. polling places are facing a record shortage of poll workers, and many election experts are warning voters that they may face long lines, cranky staffs, equipment breakdowns, problems opening and closing voting stations and other hassles. Counties are trying to cope with the problem by last-minute recruiting and training sessions and creative recruitment drives. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

High school students who aren’t yet old enough to vote can make their mark on this year’s midterm election by serving as an election clerk.

Students enrolled in public, private or home school and at least 16 years of age, can be part of the program. 

On Election Day, student clerks assist local officials at polling places throughout Tarrant County. 

They will:

  • Organize the polling place before the polls open
  • Ensure that qualified voters are permitted to vote
  • Check-in and process voters
  • Distribute ballots to registered voters
  • Maintain order in the polling place on Election Day

Serving as an election clerk is a way for students to get involved in the community, while also learning about the electoral process, said Grasie Alvarado, elections manager for Tarrant County.

“Once high school students see the rewards of serving in their community, they might be inclined to get others involved and interested in the electoral process,” Alvarado said.

The program is designed to provide high school students with a greater understanding of the rights and responsibilities of others, which is why Alvarado said it’s beneficial for students to interact with registered voters.

“They get to see first-hand the interest shown by the voters entering their polling place,” said Alvarado.

While young voters consistently tend to have a low turnout on Election Day, Richard Grubbs, a government teacher at R.L. Paschal High School, said the student clerk program is a good opportunity to show future voters how the electoral process works.

“This can also illustrate to students that their vote counts and that the system works even if they don’t like the results,” Grubbs said.

In an attempt to spark the interest of young voters, Grubbs said Paschal High School is actively working toward encouraging students to register to vote.

The high school’s librarians, who are also Deputy Voter Registrars, work with the seniors to get them registered to vote and involved with local campaigns.

Students interested in applying can fill out and submit the Student Election Clerk Application and Permission form online along with written authorization from a parent or legal guardian. 

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