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posted: 10/31/2012 2:07 PM

Students sign up in droves to participate in election

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Submitted by the Cook County Clerk’s Office

Thousands of high school and college students will serve in polling locations across suburban Cook County on Election Day.

About 1,350 high school juniors and seniors from 71 different schools applied to work as election judges. Another 1,300 college students from 45 colleges applied to work either as an election judge or an equipment manager.

"Our student poll workers are a vital cog in the Election Day wheel," said Cook County Clerk David Orr. "Getting young people involved early helps to solidify voting as an integral part of their lives."

Among participating high schools, New Trier will have the most -- more than 100 -- students in precincts. Hillcrest, Loyola Academy, and Maine West and Maine South will each have about 80 election judges represented.

Dan Fouts, Maine West's government teacher, said the high school judge program is an invaluable opportunity for students to become active citizens in the political process.

"Students see firsthand the hard work that goes into elections and begin to appreciate how their democracy works," he said. "This understanding provides a framework for a lifelong appreciation for government and an inspiration to get involved through voting and other means. Maine West is grateful for the opportunity that Cook County provides our students."

Orr introduced the election judge program for high school seniors in 1999, and it was extended to juniors in 2007. The college equipment manager program started in 2008.

Among Northwest suburban high school participating are Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Conant, Elgin, Elk Grove, Fremd, Glenbrook North and South, Hersey, Hoffman Estates, Leyden East and West, Loyola Academy, Maine East, Maine West and Maine South, New Trier, Niles North and West, Palatine, Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, South Elgin, Streamwood, and Wheeling. Among the local colleges are College of DuPage, DePaul, Harper College, Lewis, NIU, Oakton Community College, Robert Morris, Roosevelt and Triton College.

Teachers and students interested in the program can visit It is too late to apply for the Nov. 6 election, but students are needed for the April 9, 2013 Consolidated Election.