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Election Day Reflection 2012

By Jen Domagal-Goldman, ADP National Manager

On Tuesday, November 6th — just over a week ago — I awoke at 4 a.m. in order to keep one of the personal civic commitments I made for 2012. (You can read a previous blog post about ADP’s civic commitments here.) It was dark and cold as I walked the length of my cul de sac to join other members of my Hume Springs neighborhood in Alexandria,VA at the Cora Kelly Community Center.

Why was I awake so early? I made a personal civic commitment — read: New Year’s resolution intended to benefit my community — to volunteer in a non-partisan manner on Election Day (something I hadn’t done since I was in graduate school during the 2004 election).

I signed up at my county election board office,  attended a three-hour training in late October, and was sworn in as an election officer at about 5 a.m. on Election Day. I appeared to be the youngest of the Election officials in my precinct (and in my training session), and enjoyed meeting other members of my community as deeply committed to strengthening our democratic processes and ensuring individuals’ rights to vote were met.

Jen Domagal-Goldman in the voting booth with her mother as a child.I spent approximately 16 hours meeting, welcoming, and thanking fellow members of my community as they stood in line to complete and cast their ballots. At the voter information station I explained how the new paper ballots (which would be electronically scanned) worked as well as the new VA Voter ID law (which, while requiring either a voter registration card or some other form of ID — including, but not limited to a drivers license, Student ID card from a VA educational institution, passport, government employee ID, is relatively less constraining than many of the new voter ID laws sweeping the nation).

My favorite role, however, was handing out “I voted” stickers — not only to voters, but often to their young children who accompanied them to the polls. Did you know that one of the best ways to ensure young voters exercise their right to vote is to bring the to the polls as children? Maybe that’s why I’m so committed to acting on my right and responsibility to participate in our electoral process and to ensure that fellow citizens are also able to exercise their right to vote (see embedded photo of me “voting” with my mom and younger sister in the 1980s in Central New York).

At the end of the day I was exhausted, yet proud of myself and my community. I am equally impressed with and proud of the Election 2012 educational and programming activities of ADP member campuses — together we helped to register and get-out-to-vote a population of politically informed and engaged college students. You can learn more about various campus election programming in these previous blog posts.

I encourage ADP campuses to consider ways of encouraging students to volunteer as election workers in the future. For me it was a great learning experience and a fabulous way to contribute to my community and our democracy. (Check out Missouri Western State University’s Poll Worker training guide.)

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