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Originally Published: October 31, 2009

Good Government Group provided applications to the City Board of Elections; 40% were of college age New Yorkers, 14% were language interpreters

Citizens Union Foundation proudly announces that it submitted to the Board of Elections in the City of New York over 5,000 applications from New Yorkers interested in serving as poll workers in the upcoming General Election on Tuesday, November 4, 2008. CUF increased its applications from the Presidential Primary Election by 300% this fall, bringing the number total number of applications the organization submitted to the Board to over 15,000 since 2001.

As the city moves forward in its transition to new voting systems, CUF continues to focus its efforts on recruiting young adults to work on Election Day as a way to encourage an underutilized and frequently disengaged population who are more technologically capable to participate in the voting process in a meaningful way. Over forty percent of the applicants CUF recruited were college age students 24 or younger.

Mindful that the Board would be implementing one ballot-marking device in each of its over 1,300 poll sites throughout the City and would therefore need more technology-savvy and skilled poll workers, we substantially ramped up our efforts to recruit capable college age students to work on Election Day. CUF recruited this large pool of applicants through outreach to local colleges and universities and community organizations, as well as by posting listings on internet sites like Craigslist, Facebook and Google, said Andrea Senteno, Program Associate for Citizens Union Foundation.

Continuing its efforts to ensure that poll sites are also capable of providing voters with much needed language assistance, CUF also submitted over 700 language interpreter applications to the Board. Its number of submitted language interpreter applications increased by twenty-two percent from 2006. “Spanish interpreters accounted for over 70% of the language interpreter applications and Chinese and Korean applicants the remaining 30% of the total. Despite this increase, the number of language interpreter applications remains low in comparison to other election day worker positions, especially Chinese and Korean interpreters. CUF continues to be committed to ensuring proper language assistance at the polls by increasing its targeted outreach to bilingual applicants.

Dick Dadey, Executive Director for Citizens Union Foundation said that CUF has been providing the Board with poll worker and interpreter applications this year on a rolling basis since June. Though these applications are from civic-minded New Yorkers with no ties to the political parties, they may not be given the same priority as the partisan appointees of the parties. CUF recruited poll workers are likely to be placed in the standby pool and not be given election day assignments until twenty-four hours before, making it difficult for many to participate.

Citizens Union Foundation, the nonprofit research, education and advocacy organization affiliated with Citizens Union, is a nonpartisan force for good government which works to inform and engage the citizens of New York to ensure local and state government values its citizens, addresses critical issues, and operates in a fair, open, and fiscally sound manner. CUF also monitors the deliberations and actions of government, conducts research, and analyzes the impact of proposed public policy and legislation at the city and state level.

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