January 12, 2011
CONTACT INFORMATION: Terri McCoy, (406) 444-2807
Secretary of State Linda McCulloch Supports Student Election Judges;
Asks Montana Legislature to Pass House Bill 88
HELENA – Montana Secretary of State and Chief Elections Officer Linda McCulloch on Wednesday spoke in favor of House Bill 88, an act allowing for student election judges at polling places and on various counting and election boards. McCulloch cited the need to create a larger pool of election workers and more civic engagement opportunities as her reasons for requesting the measure.
“Montana’s teenagers are the future voters of America,” said McCulloch. “Giving 16 and 17-year-olds a first-hand look at how elections are run, will give them an appreciation of the value of registering and voting.”
Many of Montana’s county election offices have seen a steady decline in the number of willing and eligible election workers. HB 88 would help eliminate the shortage of workers while adding a uniquely educated population to the pool.
“Montana’s teenagers are comfortable working with the technology and equipment necessary for running elections,” said McCulloch. “This promising generation was born in the digital age, and they learn quickly.”
The bill, which is being sponsored by Montana State Representative Franke Wilmer, requires students receive written consent from their parents or guardian, and school, before serving as a student election judge.
“As a teacher, I believe that it is important that a student’s school is kept in the loop about a request to be out of school,” said McCulloch. “It is vital that parents are a part of their child’s decision to become an election judge.”
HB88 received its first hearing before the House State Administration Committee.