Today is Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Students now able to earn volunteer hours for election work

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Effective as of April 4, an election bill allowing poll officials to volunteer their time as a public service will offer the opportunity for high school students to earn necessary volunteer hours needed for Tennessee Scholars and Tennessee Promise scholarships.

Sponsored by State Sen. Mae Beavers and State Rep. Susan Lynn, the bill was greeted with bipartisan support in the Tennessee Senate and House of Representatives. It was one of the first bills to gain passage and to be signed by the governor.

"This bill enables a new generation of voters to embrace public service by volunteering as poll officials while they work toward the requirements for Tennessee scholarships," Beavers said.

"I was honored to carry this bill for our county election commissions," Lynn added. "It was truly one of the more popular new ideas for legislation among legislators. I am excited to see how this new law opens doors for our youth to engage in civic involvement and community service."

The Wilson County Election Commission recruits and trains more than 300 poll officials for each countywide election. Last year, more than 45 students representing all Wilson County high schools were trained and worked alongside veteran poll workers throughout the county.

"Having students serve on Election Day is one of many ways we interact with our schools," said Tammy Smith, assistant administrator of elections in Wilson County. "We are looking for ways to increase awareness of elections and voting among young people. Holding elections for class officers, superlatives, BizTown mayors or mock elections are our way of building a tradition of voting that will last a lifetime."

Wilson County Administrator of Elections Phillip Warren added, "Even though the next scheduled election is August 2, 2018, we are always excited to hear from Wilson County voters who are interested in serving as poll officials. If you are interested in learning more about the opportunities as a poll official, you may submit a poll worker application online."

The application is available at For each election, the election commission appoints and trains poll officials to serve on Election Day at the 31 precincts and at the five early voting sites.

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