Fisher Participates in Election Fellows Program
For this year’s election, St. John Fisher College was chosen to participate in a new program aimed at educating young people to become more involved in the electoral system and motivating them to vote on election day. The Election Fellows/Inspectors Program, funded by a grant overseen by the University of Rochester, brought together five area colleges for the effort.
Through an application process, a total of ten students from Fisher, University of Rochester, Roberts Wesleyan, Nazareth College, and Monroe Community College were selected to serve as election fellows to recruit and train student election inspectors from their respective schools. The fellows were trained by the Monroe County Board of Elections, and were responsible for reviewing applications for the inspectors, registering students to vote, training the inspectors about the process, assigning them to poll sites, and arranging food and transportation on election day. Fisher seniors Joe Smith and Brett Miller served as the College’s fellows.
Beginning at 5:00 a.m. this past Tuesday, 46 Fisher students reported to their assigned poll sites and worked throughout the day. Two were assigned to campus and worked at a poll site in the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, and the others were spread at sites throughout Pittsford, Brighton, and Penfield.
“I have been impressed by the election fellow leaders who are committed to the election process and educating students about the importance of voting,” said Sally Vaughan, Director of Community Service, who also served as Fisher’s Campus Champion in the program. “By training students, we also transitioned new inspectors into the poll sites, replacing those elders who have been working for 30 or 40 years.”
Smith, a history and political science major, said the response from other inspectors in the community was extraordinary, and that they were impressed with not only the program and the College, but the students as well.
“They were amazed at how well the students could adapt to new forms of voting, and so quickly learn the process. And they were excited with the level of enthusiasm that our student inspectors portrayed, along with their willingness to learn,” he said. “It was a really good feeling to see that all of our hard work paid off. Fisher was able to lead the way in this new initiative to engage youth in the election process.”
Smith also said that one inspector stopped him on his way out and said, “All college students should be more like you guys, and we really do appreciate you.”
Lackmann Culinary Services and Tim Horton’s provided the students with a continental breakfast to start the day, and Mark’s Pizzeria provided them with coupons for dinner.
Students reported for duty in the Campus Center beginning at 4:00 a.m., fueling up before leaving for their polling sites.
Fisher student Karissa Shumway worked as an election inspector at the campus polling site in the Welcome Center.