The program trains high school juniors and seniors to register classmates to vote and encourages them to hold non-partisan voter registration drives at their schools.
The County Clerk kicked off the program in her office in October 2019 at an event that was dubbed “Pizza and Politics.”
The 38 members in the 2019-2020 inaugural class of Student Ambassadors came from 11 public or private high schools and registered 529 eligible Will County students to vote.
Students who are 17 years old during a Primary Election but who will turn 18 years old in the November General Election may register to vote and may cast ballots in both elections. Per Illinois statute (10 ILCS 5/3-6), these students also may qualify to serve as Deputy Registrars.
The County Clerk also encouraged the group to recruit qualifying students to serve as Election Night workers or as (Student) Election Judges on Election Day. Student Ambassadors also can serve in both capacities if they qualify.
Election Judges earn $150 serving in Polling Places on Election Day. Election Night workers earn money assisting with Election Night duties at the County Clerk’s Office. To serve as Student Election Judges, students must be juniors or seniors in good standing with their school and have a Grade Point Average of 3.0 or higher. They also must receive permission from their parents and the school principal.
Serving in the Student Ambassador Program will provide participants with valuable experience that will enhance college and employment applications. Those who complete the program requirements will receive official recognition from the County Clerk. But most importantly, the County Clerk hopes the program will inspire a lifetime of civic involvement.
“If our democracy is to remain vibrant, we must empower and energize our students to become involved in the election process, to use their voices, and to vote,” County Clerk Staley Ferry said.
For more information on the Student Ambassador Program, call Tanya Arias, Student Ambassador Program Coordinator, at (815) 740-4786 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.