Record Number College Students to Work as Equipment Managers

550 students apply from 18 colleges; 25% of suburban voters under 34

Cook County, IL–(ENEWSPF)– More college students than ever applied to serve as specialized Election Day workers on Nov. 4, CookCounty Clerk David Orr announced Sunday at an Equipment Manager training in Winnetka.

About 550 college students from 18 universities applied for the award-winning "Building Team Democracy" program to serve as Equipment Managers. Orr spoke Sunday at an intensive training course for 100 Loyola University students learning how to maintain touch screen and optical scan voting equipment.

"It’s imperative to have a new generation of poll workers staffing our precincts alongside veteran judges on Election Day," Orr said. "Tech-savvy college students are ideal troubleshooters in this-our first presidential election with new touch screen voting equipment."

Leading the charge was Loyola University with 466 student applicants. Loyola received a $30,000 grant from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to ramp up their recruitment effort for this critical election and aimed to enlist 300 students. "In an election where young voters are positively crucial, Loyola is proud to partner with the Cook County Clerk’s office in thistremendous effort to further engage students in the election process," Loyola Public Affairs Director Philip Hale said."I am thrilled with the success of this program thus far."

Students from the following colleges and universities are also participating:

  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • Chicago State University
  • Dominican University
  • Harold Washington College
  • DePaul University
  • Harper College
  • Concordia University
  • Roosevelt University
  • Triton College
  • Oakton Community College
  • Columbia College
  • Prairie State University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Northwestern University
  • Malcolm X College
  • Robert Morris College
  • Governors State University

On Nov. 4, the Clerk’s office will employ more than 11,000 election judges at the 2,290 precincts in suburban CookCounty. Included are 1,700 high school juniors and seniors working as election judges – a new record.

"While my office clearly benefits from our high school and college programs, these students are getting a firsthand look at democracy in action," Orr said.

For the "Building Team Democracy" program, Orr received the highest award conferred by the Election Center National Association of Election Officials in Dallas this summer.

To see a video about the "Building Team Democracy" program, visit the Clerk’s College Programs page.

Participation by young people is also reflected in current voter registration. Voters age 18 to 34 have climbed to 25 percent of suburban Cook County’s electorate, compared to 20 percent in the 2004 Presidential Election.