Teens Working at Election Polls

As election day started on November 4th, Wauwatosa West High School students eagerly helped their community by working at different voting sites.

Each student played a different role at the voting sites, such as registering new voters or checking in voters at their correct districts.  “I learned that a lot more goes into the polling process than you would think” said Senior Halle Lambeau.  Students worked alongside well experienced poll workers who provided guidance and insight.  “It was cool to see the technical aspects of voting.”, said Senior Sabrina Black.

Most student workers arrived at their polling station at 6:30 AM and finished their day at 9:00 PM.  Although the day was lengthy and challenging, all the student workers admit that this experience has given them a better understanding of the voting process. Junior worker Julia Tarima added, “When we go to vote we’ll know how it works”.

West students have been working at the polls each November for the past 8 years. Social Studies teacher Chris Lazarski approached the Wauwatosa City Clerk Carla Ledesma in 2006 with the idea of having his American Public Policy students assist at the polling places to help them better understand the voting process.  “Working with the Wauwatosa City Clerk is awesome. She has been super flexible working with me and our students. She clearly understands how important this experience is for student learning. And, our students never disappoint. The feedback from other poll workers and voters has always been positive. We have the best students who are fully engaged and jump into the process.”

When asked about her thought on having the teens work at the election sites Carla Ledesma said, “ I really appreciate the opportunity to employ high school students at the polls on Election Day.  For these busy elections more workers are always needed, and sometimes not enough adults are available.  So the students help fill a critical manpower need.  I hope the experience encourages the student to continue to work at the polls in the future, or even to become involved in local politics.  Being a poll worker is an activity that they can continue to do their entire adult lives, and it is a worthwhile contribution to their community”.

Every teen worker agrees that this unique experience was worth all the hard work and dedication. “I already asked if I can come back next year,” sophomore worker Faith David explained , “it was a great experience”.