Thirty students and their parents from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Seattle will join forces with King County Elections this August to serve as poll workers to raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief.
The group is one of several already signed up for the recently launched Partnership in Democracy program that partners local businesses, non-profit organizations, and college and high school students in delivering democracy to voters at the polls on Tuesday, Aug. 19.
Organizers say the program goes beyond simply recruiting individuals. Rather, it targets groups with an interest in promoting team building, civic pride and an opportunity to fundraise or earn community service hours.
"When I heard about this program, the opportunity to be a part of history by working at the polls and raise money while doing it was too good to pass up," said Randy Novak, youth adviser at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Seattle. "The money we raise allows our group, The VOICE and Shirts Across America, to move more people out of government issued trailers and into homes, one family at a time."
The Partnership in Democracy Program requires a limited time commitment and non-partisan groups and businesses of any size are encouraged to apply.
Employees and students are asked to commit to one or both election days this year and attend a three-hour, hands-on training either at King County Elections or on site at your business, organization or school.
Other groups participating in the program include Bellevue High School, Franklin High School, Mercer Island High School Mock Trial Club, and the University of Washington Department of Communication.
Elections Director Sherril Huff created the Partnership in Democracy program in King County because of the significant need to over-hire in preparation for what could be turnout exceeding the 83 percent record experienced in 2004.
The partnership concept is not new, many states and large counties have implemented similar programs including Ramsey County, Minnesota and Franklin County, Ohio.
King County is also in need of poll workers who speak Chinese to serve as bilingual poll workers, though representatives who speak any language are encouraged to apply.
If your group is interested in build team camaraderie while remaining politically neutral, and partnering with King County Elections on Election Day, call 206-296-1606 and specify that you're interested in the Partnership in Democracy program.