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STLCC Selected for Help America Vote College Program

July 25, 2008

With a presidential election on the horizon and a poll worker shortage predicted, St. Louis Community College has been awarded a grant of $21,035 from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) Help America Vote College program.


STLCC’s project, "Show-Me New Poll Workers," aims to recruit 500 students to become poll workers in precincts throughout the metro area for the upcoming November election. STLCC is one of only six community colleges nationwide selected to participate in the program.


"While the expectation is that voter turnout will be high throughout the country, this prediction could prove especially significant for the state of Missouri, a point made in a New York Times summary of Super Tuesday’s Democratic races," said John Messmer, associate professor of political science at STLCC-Meramec who will serve as the project director. "There is a strong likelihood that a high percentage of Missouri residents will cast their votes in November. Both the St. Louis City and County Boards of Election have initiated public pleas for poll workers. STLCC is in an ideal position to partner with local elections boards to fulfill this need for poll workers through the Show-Me New Poll Workers project."


Poll workers are critical to running smooth elections – they set up and take down polling place materials and equipment, check voters’ registration, and demonstrate how to use voting systems.


Messmer said other goals of the project are to increase STLCC student interest in and knowledge of the U.S. electoral process and enhance students’ ability to assist in the successful administration of local elections; build upon an already meaningful and productive relationship between STLCC and local/state election officials; encourage future participation of STLCC students with local governments and electoral processes; and collect valuable data gauging student opinion of campus recruitment efforts, training and poll worker experience for future elections.


The EAC is an independent bipartisan commission created by the Help America Vote Act. It serves as a national clearinghouse and resource of information regarding election administration.


STLCC students interested in participating in the project are encouraged to contact Messmer at 314-984-7674 or by e-mail at jmessmer@stlcc.edu.