Loyola partnership praised; student Equipment Managers featured in video (below)
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Cook County Clerk David Orr received the highest award conferred by the Election Center National Association of Election Officials in Dallas today. The Election Center's Democracy Award recognized Clerk Orr's partnership with Loyola University as the most unique and innovative program implemented by an elected official in 2007.
Clerk Orr and Loyola worked together to successfully recruit 150 college students to serve as Equipment Managers for February's Presidential Primary.
"Having competent equipment managers is especially crucial now," Clerk Orr said. "This is the first presidential election year that Cook County is implementing its new voting equipment and large turnouts are expected for the November 4 election."
The "Building Team Democracy" program places college students in polling places and makes them fully responsible for the setup and maintenance of voting equipment throughout Election Day. Equipment managers are election judges who undergo an intensive training course to learn how to maintain election equipment.
"These students are invaluable because they are great with the new technology, able to help our veteran election judges, and they provide the foundation for a new generation of poll workers in suburban Cook County," Orr said.
To hear what Loyola students had to say about their Equipment Manager experience, check out this video.
Loyola University Public Affairs Vice President Philip Hale praised the Clerk's office for its "exemplary individual service, including personal phone reminders and emails, which encouraged student participation."
Hale expects recruitment to double to 300 for the November 4 Presidential Election. A $30,000 grant from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission will allow Loyola and the Clerk's office to achieve that goal by increasing advertising of the program and covering transportation costs for students.
Clerk Orr received the award at the Election Center's 24th Annual National Conference in Dallas. The conference aims to provide elected officials from all over the country to share success stories and discuss new legislation and policies that impact elections.