Washington July 5 : A new study has revealed that recruiting young and fresh faces as staff at polling places can boost voters' trust in elections.
Political scientists from Brigham Young University and Kent State University have revealed that new poll workers recruited from local schools, unions and businesses can help enhanced voters' trust in elections.
The study conducted by BYU political scientist Kelly Patterson and BYU's Quin Monson showed that voters' evaluations of poll workers relate to their level of trust in the voting process. With more trust comes higher voter turnout, the researchers say.
By studying voters and poll workers in Ohio during the November 2006 election showed that voters gave higher marks to precincts staffed by new poll workers recruited from local schools and businesses.
"If you want to improve elections, improve it from the ground up and get new blood in the poll worker force," said Patterson.
"Quality poll workers matter, particularly in the November election where many voting stations will be crowded or have new equipment that voters may be unfamiliar with," he added.
In Ohio's Franklin County, local employers, unions and teachers were asked to recruit their employees and students to serve as poll workers.
A concerted effort was made to invite young poll workers who would be comfortable with new voting technology.
In the BYU-Kent State study, both poll workers and voters completed evaluations about their experience. An analysis of voter evaluations shows voters gave more positive evaluations to polling places with the new recruits.
"It is as if, consciously or unconsciously, poll workers communicate their sense of adequacy and preparation to voters as they interact with them on Election Day," Monson said. "Voters can smell fear and uncertainty."
The study will appear in the July issue of American Politics Research.