MAYVILLE - "He can't be old enough to vote," may very well have gone through the minds of voters Tuesday when they are greeted at area poll sites by local high school seniors.
The Chautauqua County Board of Elections teamed up with Jamestown, Fredonia, Falconer, Frewsburg and Chautauqua Lake to have high school seniors working high traffic poll sites throughout the county at peak times. The seniors worked with hand held computers and over sized maps to help direct voters to the proper election districts for voting.
"We are constantly reaching out to schools to involve students with the voting process," said Republican Election Commissioner Brian Abram. "This is our newest effort and the feedback from voters today is terrific." Abram said that in addition to presenting a Board of Elections civic class to area schools with Democratic Election Commissioner Norman P. Green, the elections office also travels to all county schools to register new voters.
OBSERVER Photo by Matt Panebianco
Jake Lilly, a senior at Fredonia High School, and Heather Sullivan, a Chautauqua Lake Central School senior, greet voters at the LoGuidice Center in Fredonia.
"Using the students to work our hand held computers with voter information and poll site data stored on each hard drive makes a lot of sense," added Green. "Our youth have amazing thumb movement due to texting, so this is a very easy work assignment. Besides, they are all so really friendly and helpful to our mostly older voting population. "
The county youth to elections program is conducted with excused absences for this first-hand learning experience about local democracy and voting.
This is the third year the board has partnered with schools. Chautauqua County is the only Board of Elections in New York State partnering with schools in such a program.