KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will play a key role in supplying poll workers for the November election, thanks to a grant from the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC).
UT’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy was one of just 15 recipients to receive funding to train as many as 200 students to serve as poll workers for the Nov. 2 federal election in Knox County.
The Baker Center received $61,000 as part of the EAC’s Help America Vote College Program. The EAC was established by Congress in 2002 to provide assistance to states administering federal elections.
“The grant allows us to create accessible opportunities for students to participate in the election process and fills the immediate need for poll workers,” said Carl Pierce, interim director of the Baker Center. “Most importantly, we can help to develop a new generation of young voters who will be engaged in the electoral process over their lifetime, which is central to the Baker Center mission.”
In partnership with the Knox Election Commission and Pyxl Inc., the Baker Center will create a program that will recruit and train about 200 college students from diverse student populations to serve as poll workers in Knox County. The project involves a training program and awareness campaigns, as well as a website and training videos. Students will be able to view the training videos on the website and take quizzes on the material presented. Students who complete and pass tests and other screening parameters will be contacted to attend an in-person training session held prior to election day.
While the focus of the website, training videos and marketing campaign will be on soliciting college students to participate in the poll worker training program for election day, the information also will be developed to allow for the future growth of the program.
“The website may be modified to engage and train all citizens to be poll workers,” said Greg Mackay, administrator of Knox County elections, “allowing the program to grow into a model for the state and an example for the nation.”
A total of $750,000 was awarded to this year’s winners which include Morehouse College in Atlanta, Suffolk University in Boston and the non-profit organization Kids Voting of Central Ohio in Columbus.
To view the complete list this year’s winners, visit http://www.eac.gov/eac_announces_winners_of_grants_to_recruit_college_poll_workers_.
EAC is an independent commission created by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). EAC serves as a national clearinghouse and resource of information regarding election administration. EAC has awarded 89 grants totaling $3.1 million since the program was established in 2004 to recruit and train college poll workers.
The commission is charged with administering payments to states and developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and accrediting voting system test laboratories and certifying voting equipment. It also is charged with developing and maintaining a national mail voter registration form.
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