FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 4, 2005
STUDENT ELECTION INSPECTOR PROGRAM EXPANDED FOR NOV. 8 ELECTION
New Haven Community Schools voters will see new faces at the polls on November 8 because the Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds (D-Warren) and three local clerks expanded the student election inspector program. The clerks enlisted New Haven High School students as election inspectors in parts of Chesterfield, Macomb, Ray, and Lenox Townships.
Sixteen students will work in the upcoming election. This is believed to be the first time this many clerks have worked together in Macomb County to coordinate election inspectors and is the first time so many student inspectors will work in a New Haven Community Schools election.
“Dr. James Avery jumped at the chance to provide this opportunity for New Haven students and promptly filled every position,” said the Macomb County Clerk. “I am thrilled with the quality of the New Haven students who applied to be an election inspector.”
“It is important for students to learn about our democracy and then actually participate,” said Dr. James Avery, Superintendent, New Haven Community Schools. “We are pleased to work with the County Clerk and local clerks to help our students learn and earn.”
Michigan law allows a high school student to be an election inspector if the student is at least 16 years old and there are at least three other adult election inspectors at the same location.
The Macomb County Clerk worked with Kelly Jo Smolarek, Chesterfield Township Clerk; Ken Artman, Ray Township Clerk; and Jodi Kethe, Lenox Township Clerk. All four clerks worked across community lines in a non-partisan manner to overcome different inspector training schedules, different voting systems and different inspector pay rates to provide this opportunity for New Haven students.
Students will work a half day shift, either 6:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. and will be paid $7.00 per hour. They also attended a training session this week. Students will work with other election inspectors to make sure people are registered to vote, ballots are properly kept confidential, and will assist with counting ballots and reporting election results on election night.
“I hope other clerks will follow the example set by these local clerks and involve students in future elections,” said the Macomb County Clerk. “This program is a good example of schools and government working together to teach students, and that benefits everyone.”
The Macomb County Clerk started this program last May when she employed 72 student election inspectors in Clinton and Macomb Townships after the local clerks there decided not to participate in their elections.
In the past the Macomb County Clerk did not normally run the day-to-day operations of elections. This year, as the result of a new law designed to streamline elections, she is required in some elections to hire poll workers, run voting machines and polling locations, and perform all the other routine tasks that local election clerks normally do. The Macomb County Clerk is running the New Haven Schools election on November 8 for Macomb Township.
This is not the first time the Macomb County Clerk has tried to generate interest among young people in voting. Last year she held a voter registration drive aimed at high school students and visited several county high schools.