High school students may work at the polls

LOCK HAVEN — For the first time ever, those casting votes in Clinton County this year may see some teenagers working at the polls.

The Clinton County Board of Elections, at their meeting Monday, approved the implementation of “Youth at the Booth,” a program used in many counties across the state to engage high school students who are 17 years of age.

Election law permits 17-year old high school students (notwithstanding their ineligibility to vote) to work as a compensated employee at the polls on Election Day as a clerk.

The prerequisites in order for a student to participate include being 17 years of age, a United States citizen and resident of Clinton County, enrollment in a secondary school with an exemplary academic record, and written approval by the school representative.

Interested students must complete an application form and include permission from parent or guardian and school representative.

The Clinton County Voter Registration and Elections office will try to keep students working as close to their home as possible and vacancies at the polling places will determine where students will be placed.

Commissioner Angela Harding stated, “I am very excited about the implementation of Youth at the Booth in Clinton County. As student government representative for Central Mountain High School, I will certainly encourage students to apply for this program. It is an excellent opportunity for students to experience elections first hand.”

Students who are 18 years of age may apply through the regular election worker application process.

Meanwhile, Voter Registration and Elections Director Maria Boileau emphasized the need for election workers and urged registered voters to sign up.

Election officials are responsible for administering election procedures in each polling place. Duties include assisting in the opening and closing of the polling place, setting up equipment, signing-in voters, and recording vote totals. Election officials must be registered voters and must attend a county election training session. The election officials work from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and are compensated for the day.

Boileau explained that the Judge of Elections and Inspectors of Election are elected offices, however, there are appointed positions in each polling place. Some polls are adequately staffed, but there are some polling places that are always in need of workers, she said. Those interested are encouraged to contact the Voter Registration and Elections office at 570-893-4019 to complete an application and submit it to the Clinton County Voter Registration and Elections Office.

Voters are reminded that the last day to register to vote before the Primary Election is April 13. The countywide General Primary will be held April 28. Polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Applications for absentee and mail-in ballots are available on line at votespa.com and on the county’s website at clintoncountypa.com. Voters can also contact the Voter Registration/Elections Office at 2 Piper Way, Lock Haven at 570-893-4019.