Student Election Assistants in North Carolina

Mar 30, 2022 (Sanford, NC) — Who knew that certain high-school-age students in North Carolina could get paid while learning how to conduct elections?!

Thanks to a 2003 statute (NCGS §163-42.1), our state’s “Student Election Assistant” program allows any student to apply, as long as they’re “enrolled in a secondary educational institution, including a home school as defined in.G.S. §115C-563(a), with an exemplary academic record as determined by that institution.”

In addition to being paid to skip school and work the election, the student assistants also get paid to participate in poll-worker training. That way, they know what they’re supposed to be doing.

Click the above image for more details.

A few preconditions to program involve being a resident of the county in which they want to work, being a US citizen, and having permission from both, the student’s “school principle” and from a parent. .

Another limit is that it’s a first-come-first-served deal, for only two students, per precinct.

Assuming all those gates are met, the only other stipulation currently required is that participants must be “at least 17 years of age at the time of any election or primary in which the student works.”

We’re hoping this changes soon, but in order for students to participate in any of this year’s statewide two biggest elections, they must turn 17 by either May 17th or November 8th.

The law is silent on whether or not students can take the training before they turn 17, but they certainly cannot work at the polls before then.

Age Limit Could Be Lowered

In a rare case of Voter Integrity Project – NC partially agreed with state elections Director, Karen Brisson Bell, she once proposed lowering that age limit to 16 and we agree. It seems okay to let a few mature 16-year-old students learn the electoral process while doing some of the work, as long as they’re not put in positions of authority.

Director Bell originally proposed lowering the age limit in a March of 2020 memo, pushing a laundry panic list of last-minute reforms she wanted Legislature to pass “for COVID.” Collectively, her ideas would have made it easier for corrupt employees and NGOs to do the same things in NC that tipped the scales in swing states like Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia.

The good news is that our Legislature saw through Bell’s fraud-friendly suggestions, and partisans failed at stuffing enough ballot boxes to flip the outcome of NC’s president contest.

The bad news is that the Legislature threw the baby out with the bath water and nobody lowered the age requirement to 16.

While Bell’s 2020 efforts to destroy our elections is an old story you might enjoy reading at this link, the bottom line is that our electoral process is fragile and it greatly depends on the integrity of those counting the ballots.

That’s why we encourage interested students to approach their parents about getting involved in this great civics-education program. Click here for more information.


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