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UW-Eau Claire Chapter of Golden Key Recognized
for Efforts to Recruit Poll Workers

RELEASED: April 15, 2005

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire Chapter of Golden Key International Honour Society was recently named the national award winner for their efforts and results in the Help America Vote College Program.

As a result, the chapter was awarded $1,000 to assist with education-focused service activities and programs. Seniors Michelle Pickett, Milwaukee, Ryan Prechel, Hillsboro, and Jennifer Kosmalski, Rosholt, the officers of UW-Eau Claire's Golden Key chapter, were presented with the award at the Golden Key Mid-American Division Leadership Conference, held in Chicago March 4-6. In the near future, the chapter will be receiving two recognition letters, one from the President of the United States and the other from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

The EAC reports that the average age for a poll worker in the United States is 72, and with the growing popularity of computerized voting systems, the commission speculated that techno-savvy college students would have an advantage in learning how to handle the new machines.

In the four months prior to the presidential election of November 2004, with little notice but with great initiative and success, 162 U.S. Golden Key Chapters participated in and became the national platform around which the EAC built the Help America Vote College Program. The program aims to encourage students enrolled in all institutions of higher education to assist with state and local government elections by serving as nonpartisan poll workers or assistants and to encourage state and local governments to use the services of the students participating in the program.

According to the Golden Key International Web site, the results produced by 162 participating chapters were — and continue to be — dramatic. In collaboration with hundreds of other organizations, these chapters delivered results in 49 states, conducting awareness programs that reached over 350,000 college students. Thousands of students expressed interest and were initially identified to participate in the program, but local bureaucracy and other obstacles paired that number down to 500. Of this number, 425 students successfully served as poll workers for the national election.

Each of the participating chapters were evaluated against certain performance criteria which included actual results (students trained, students who worked as poll workers), marketing to create program awareness, collaboration and innovation.

Funding of this award was made possible by a grant from the EAC.

For more information, contact Paula Stuettgen, staff adviser for Golden Key, at (715) 836-4803.

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PS/NW

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