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Secretary of State Linda McCulloch Supports Student Election Judges

January 12, 2009

(Helena) - Secretary of State Linda McCulloch today spoke in favor of HB30, an act allowing for student election judges at polling places on various counting and election boards. She says the bill creates a larger pool of election poll workers and provides Montana students an innovative civic experience.

"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."

During her testimony, McCulloch drew attention to Montana's steadily decreasing number of election poll workers and suggested HB30 is a clear solution to long lines and confusion at polling places.

"A 'yes' vote not only supports Montana's county election administrators and the education of Montana's teenagers," said McCulloch. "It clearly supports fair and accurate elections."

McCulloch has asked the bill's sponsor, Rep. Franke Wilmer (D) Bozeman, to submit a request for an amendment to the bill draft. The amendment requires students receive written consent from both their school and their parents before serving as a youth 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 also vital that parents are a part of their child's decision to become an election judge."

HB30 received its first hearing before the House State Administration Committee on January 12 at 8 am in Room 455.