Northeastern Illinois University ranked fifth out of 71 colleges and universities in the Chicago area for student applications to participate as election judges in three elections from October 2014 to May 2015, according to a recent report released by the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
The Student Leaders in Elections program recruited more than 1,500 college students to work in the three elections (general, municipal, runoff), making it one of the largest college poll worker programs in the country.
Of that number, there were 198 students from Northeastern who applied to be election judges and 99 who actually served on one of the election days. There were also 91 bilingual judges who applied from Northeastern, of whom 47 served on at least one Election Day.
“Northeastern was a great recruiting partner,” said Devin Race, director of the Student Leaders in Elections program. “Thanks to the assistance of Rae Joyce Baguilat and to many faculty members, including Brett Stockdill, Paul Schroeder Rodriguez, Cris Toffolo, Cristen Jenkins, Christina Gomez, William Adler and Jeff Hill.”
The students from 51 colleges and universities in the city engaged in a valuable civic opportunity and helped to make the election process smoother and more accessible for voters.
As a result of the program, student participants reported greater interest in voting and being civically engaged in the future, according to the report. The polling places became more efficient, and the program was so successful that the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners plans to expand the use of college students as election judges in 2016.