Poll workers are dedicated individuals who work long hours on Election Day to make sure the process goes smoothly so that everyone who wants to vote can vote.

Poll workers are dedicated individuals who work long hours on Election Day to make sure the process goes smoothly so that  everyone who wants to vote can vote.

This year, as in the past 10 years, there were many local high school students hired to help at the polling locations across Stark County.

Deputy Director, Stark County Board of Elections, Jeanette Mullane, said 100 students from 11 school districts were helping voters at various poll locations. The students, all seniors, learn about the opportunity from their teachers. Some of them have never voted themselves yet.

“Students who work the polls get to experience citizenship through the voting process,” Mullane wrote in an email interview.

Students get excused from school for the day and earn the same pay rate as the Precinct Election Officials (PEOs) who are paid $101.50 for the day. They were also paid $20 to attend training. Their day begins at 5:30 a.m. and ends around 8:30 p.m.

“Participation of high school seniors helping at the polls has increased over the years. Central Catholic students have been helping us at the polls for 10 years. Students from Jackson Township and North Canton were part of the student poll workers and were located at different precincts in their communities,” Mullane wrote.

The involvement of the younger volunteers is important, especially as the board of elections prepares for a transition.

“As the Board of Elections moves toward e-pollbooks, the computer savvy students will be able to help with an ever growing use of technology in the poll place,” Mullane write. “This collaboration provides high school seniors the opportunity to become directly involved in government and we hope this experience will encourage them to continue to participate after they graduate high school.”

Hoover High School senior, Natalie Petro, is 17 years old. She'll be voting for the first time in the 2016 Presidential Election. Petro was helping at one of the North Canton precincts on Nov. 3 by programming voting cards.

“My government teacher had a sign up in the classroom about working the polls and I signed up with six of my friends,” Petro said. “Once we got setup this morning, everything has run smoothly. We've had 150 people vote and it's only a little after 10 a.m. I remember coming with my mother to vote when I was younger and this experience has been everything I expected and hoped it would be.”