Future of Democracy: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Future of Democracy program?

The Future of Democracy program is aimed at giving high school students an inside look at American democracy in action. Student Precinct Election Officials are critical members of Election Day and provide support by assisting voters and participating in polling location duties and responsibilities.

Who can apply to join the Future of Democracy program?

In order to be in the Future of Democracy program with the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections you must:
  • Be at least 17 years old and a senior in high school
  • Be a high school student with a minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Be a Cuyahoga County resident
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have written permission from both your parent/guardian and Coordinating Teacher
What are the benefits of joining the Future of Democracy program?
  • Wonderful enhancement to a college application or resume
  • Earn service hours, depending on your school’s policy
  • Represent your school in the polling location
  • Learn first-hand about the democratic process
  • Earn $172.10
Future of Democracy workers are required to:
  • Attend a training class prior to the election -- approximately 2.5 hours long
  • Attend a set-up meeting at their assigned precincts from 6-8 p.m. on the Monday evening before the Election
  • On Election Day, workers must be at their polling locations at 5:30 a.m. and stay until all post-election reports and cleanup are completed (appx. 8:30 p.m.)
  • Workers will be paid $172.10, the same as other Precinct Election Officials.
How do I apply to be a Student Election Official?

You may pick up applications from your Government or Social Studies teacher. Your application will not be valid until it is received by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections with all valid signatures. If you aren't sure which teacher represents your school, contact Becky Brake at 216-443-6439.

How do I know if my application was accepted and where I am working?

You will receive a Notice-to-Serve email or letter from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections with your polling location assignment listed. We try to assign you as close to your home as possible. If you do not receive an assignment letter by two weeks before the election, please call (216) 443-6439 or email rbrake@cuyahogacounty.us

Do I have to attend a training class?

Yes. All Student Election Officials are required to attend a training class. Most classes will take place at your school in the six (6) weeks before an election. If you miss your assigned training class at school you must contact Becky Brake at (216) 443-6439 or email rbrake@cuyahogacounty.us to find out if another training class will be available.

What if I cannot attend the training class I’m scheduled for?

If you cannot attend your training class, you must contact us via phone or email to cancel at least 24 hours before the beginning of the class.

What hours are required to work the election?

You must report to your assigned polling location on the Monday before the election at 6:00 PM to set up the location. This lasts approximately 2 hours. You start work at 5:30 a.m. on Election Day and finish when the entire polling location has completed their tasks at approximately 8:30 p.m. You are given a lunch break and two (2) additional breaks during the day. You must complete the entire shift. Half or partial shifts are not available.

What if I can’t work on Election Day?

If you have to cancel, you must contact us immediately.

How much will I get paid?

All Election Officials receive $172.10 for attending the training class, the Monday Night Organizational Meeting and working on Election Day, unless otherwise informed. In order to receive a paycheck, you must complete the required training class; work the Monday Night Organizational Meeting and the entire Election Day.

When do I get paid?

Future of Democracy checks will be mailed approximately 3 weeks after the election.

How do I reach the Future of Democracy Coordinator?

If you have any questions regarding this program, please contact the Future of Democracy Coordinator, Becky Brake at (216) 443-6439 or email rbrake@cuyahogacounty.us.