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Students to see democracy in action as poll workers

The Hoosier Hall Pass Poll Worker Recruitment Program encourages 16 and 17-year-olds to help at the polls on election day.

CARMEL, Ind. — Students are getting a lesson in one of the most important responsibilities a citizen has — voting.

“I think with everything going on right now, it’s important to fulfill your civic duties,” said Minaal Shahid, 16.

The Carmel High School senior is too young to vote, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be a part of the upcoming November election.

“Right now, I think it’s more important than ever for people to vote and get their voice in, so if I can play a part in helping that happen, I wanted to do whatever I could,” Shahid said.

What that looks like this year is signing up to be a part of the Hoosier Hall Pass Poll Worker Recruitment Program, encouraging 16 and 17-year-olds to help at the polls on election day.

“A lot of my friends have been talking about it,” Shahid said.

In Hamilton County, close to 50 high schoolers have signed up for the program so far, according to the county’s election administrator. Hamilton County already has about 1,000 poll workers ready to go, with people still calling in also wanting to work.

According to Beth Sheller, the county’s election administrator, getting people to work the polls has been difficult in years past, but not this year, even with COVID-19.

In Marion County, 150 students are on board to join the already 4,000 people signed up to work the polls. 

Right now, Shahid is waiting to hear about training and find out which polling place she’ll be working. She’s not even sure what her job will be, but she is glad for the chance to see how democracy works up close and be part of the action. 

“I think it’s really cool that we get to play a part in it,” Shahid said. 

For information on the program, click on this link.