A group of students from Proviso Math and Science Academy will be working as election judges on Election Day on Tuesday, November 5.
The students, who will be joined by students from high schools across Cook County, including Proviso East High School and Proviso West High School, are part of the Student Judge Program with the Cook County Clerk’s Office. The program enlists the aid of high school juniors and seniors who work at voting sites across the county helping registered voters get their ballots and collecting them after they have been completed.
"It’s a great program," said Ms. Patricia Howard, chair of the humanities department at PMSA. "This looks good on the college applications."
To qualify as a student judge, a student must be at least junior in high school, maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, be an American citizen by the next election, complete an election judge training course through the clerk’s office, and have written consent from their principal and a parent.
Several of the PMSA student judges have worked during previous elections. Isabella Mazzulla, a PMSA senior, said that she liked learning about the voting process.
"I learned how it works and all of the safety tips to make sure that the vote is legitimate," Isabella said.
Abelardo Flores, a PMSA senior, will be working next year as an election judge for the third time, having worked during the presidential election in November 2012.
"I did this to actually help people and speed up the process," he said. "It’s a really neat system in how it works."
Many of the student judges also are helping to promote a new law that will allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 years old by the general election in November to vote in the primary election as a 17-year-old. The law, signed by Governor Pat Quinn in July, takes effect on January 1, 2014.
Sue Ellen Colón, student program coordinator with the clerk’s office, and Cody Davis, a videographer with the clerk’s office, were at PMSA on Monday, October 28, recording videos of the student judges speaking about their reasons for voting at age 17.
"I’m 17 and I’m going to register to vote because I’m excited to be a part of this country’s political system," said Emma Plesnicar, a PMSA senior.
Dr. Bessie Karvelas, principal at PMSA, said that the students participating in the student judge program are the leaders that every great school needs.
"These students are a great example of the great leaders that PMSA produces," Dr. Karvelas said. "We are proud of the hard work that they put in to learn and get hands-on experience about our political system. We know that they are role models for other students who will one day pursue similar opportunities."