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Maryland Professors at the Polls: A Pilot Project Encouraging Faculty (and Students) to Serve as Poll Workers in the 2006 Elections
Unformatted Document Text:  commitment was perceived as onerous. Chief Judges and some participants were required to attend three training sessions (6 hours), pick up equipment on the Saturdays prior to the Election Days (2 hours), help set up on the Monday night prior the election (3 hours), and serve two 6AM-10PM shifts as an Election Judge (28 hours). There are also special costs associated with volunteering by faculty that may not be faced by other volunteers. Elections in Maryland occur during periods when faculty and students are busy with classes. 18 Although college or university administration may approve of election judging, faculty may not feel as strongly about serving. Faculty must either cancel classes or forego other activities associated with their duties on campus. Many professors also have family responsibilities, including childcare or family support for a working spouse. These commitments can make election judging for fourteen consecutive hours unrealistic. • Lesson 1: The length of service and level of commitment necessary to serve as a poll judge is likely to dissuade faculty members from volunteering or continuing to serve over multiple election cycles. Although there are serious obstacles to recruiting faculty, there was a consensus among program participants and respondents about the overall value of their experience. First, volunteers expressed enjoyment in meeting and working with fellow election judges from their communities. Second, respondents also felt good about performing civic duties that are, for all practical purposes, volunteer activities. 19 • Lesson 2: Faculty that served as poll judges report high levels of satisfaction, provided problems did not occur at their polling station. 18 Maryland’s presidential primary has been held on Super Tuesday in March in recent years. The March date is similarly a busy time on the academic calendar . 19 No respondent mentioned compensation as a reason for serving. Compensation runs between $125-200 per day and an additional $25 for each training session attended. 14

Authors: Messitte, Zach. and Cain, Michael.
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commitment was perceived as onerous. Chief Judges and some participants were required
to attend three training sessions (6 hours), pick up equipment on the Saturdays prior to
the Election Days (2 hours), help set up on the Monday night prior the election (3 hours),
and serve two 6AM-10PM shifts as an Election Judge (28 hours).
There are also special costs associated with volunteering by faculty that may not
be faced by other volunteers. Elections in Maryland occur during periods when faculty
and students are busy with classes.
Although college or university administration may
approve of election judging, faculty may not feel as strongly about serving. Faculty must
either cancel classes or forego other activities associated with their duties on campus.
Many professors also have family responsibilities, including childcare or family support
for a working spouse. These commitments can make election judging for fourteen
consecutive hours unrealistic.
Lesson 1: The length of service and level of commitment necessary to
serve as a poll judge is likely to dissuade faculty members from
volunteering or continuing to serve over multiple election cycles.
Although there are serious obstacles to recruiting faculty, there was a consensus
among program participants and respondents about the overall value of their experience.
First, volunteers expressed enjoyment in meeting and working with fellow election
judges from their communities. Second, respondents also felt good about performing
civic duties that are, for all practical purposes, volunteer activities.
Lesson 2: Faculty that served as poll judges report high levels of
satisfaction, provided problems did not occur at their polling station.
18
Maryland’s presidential primary has been held on Super Tuesday in March in recent years. The March
date is similarly a busy time on the academic calendar
.
19
No respondent mentioned compensation as a reason for serving. Compensation runs between $125-200
per day and an additional $25 for each training session attended.
14


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