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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:  This suggests that once faculty volunteer, provided their personal or professional costs are not too great, that retention may be possible under well-designed volunteer systems. The Maryland Board of Elections currently does not focus its recruitment of election judges from campuses across the state. Instead, individual county election boards are largely responsible for the staffing of polling places. Campus advertisements, visits by election officials to busy campus center locations, and communication to campus administration are sporadic at best. This lack of outreach appears to be a missed opportunity to both help staff polling stations as well as building civic engagement at university and colleges. Moreover, as several faculty members noted, adding faculty to the diverse group of citizens working together to ensure the fairness of the process on Election Day has the potential, among other things, to ameliorate town-gown problems which plague so many university/college communities. • Lesson 3: Boards of election should improve their strategies to target students, faculty and staff to serve as election judges. Respondents to our questionnaire generally did not plan or coordinate recruitment on their campuses. Few attempted to publicize these efforts. Instead faculty focused on their own volunteer efforts and generally viewed this to be their main contribution to the program. However, the most successful recruitment effort occurred on the Salisbury University campus via the Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE). PACE’s effort became part of their organizational mission and they promoted the initiative by recruiting successfully across campus. Given the success of their efforts, future initiatives should first identify campus organizations (i) whose mission is related to volunteering or civic engagement and (ii) have the capacity to attract and identify 15

Authors: Messitte, Zach. and Cain, Michael.
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This suggests that once faculty volunteer, provided their personal or professional costs
are not too great, that retention may be possible under well-designed volunteer systems.
The Maryland Board of Elections currently does not focus its recruitment of
election judges from campuses across the state. Instead, individual county election boards
are largely responsible for the staffing of polling places. Campus advertisements, visits
by election officials to busy campus center locations, and communication to campus
administration are sporadic at best. This lack of outreach appears to be a missed
opportunity to both help staff polling stations as well as building civic engagement at
university and colleges. Moreover, as several faculty members noted, adding faculty to
the diverse group of citizens working together to ensure the fairness of the process on
Election Day has the potential, among other things, to ameliorate town-gown problems
which plague so many university/college communities.
Lesson 3: Boards of election should improve their strategies to target
students, faculty and staff to serve as election judges.
Respondents to our questionnaire generally did not plan or coordinate recruitment
on their campuses. Few attempted to publicize these efforts. Instead faculty focused on
their own volunteer efforts and generally viewed this to be their main contribution to the
program. However, the most successful recruitment effort occurred on the Salisbury
University campus via the Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE).
PACE’s effort became part of their organizational mission and they promoted the
initiative by recruiting successfully across campus. Given the success of their efforts,
future initiatives should first identify campus organizations (i) whose mission is related to
volunteering or civic engagement and (ii) have the capacity to attract and identify
15


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