College-age students are being recruited to join the 18,000 registered voters in South Carolina needed to work as poll managers in the upcoming June 8 primary and election day in November.
The Palmetto Project is undertaking the effort to sign up 300 students from the state's colleges and universities, Brady Quirk-Garvan said.
Quirk-Garvan is the 23-year-old coordinator of the Young Voters Initiative at Palmetto Project, a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy group based in Mount Pleasant.
Poll managers process voters, assist them with questions and help solve problems.
"South Carolina's election system is about as open and youth-friendly as any in the country," Quirk-Garvan said. "Since younger voters represent the fastest growing segment of the electorate, it just makes sense that some of them would take this on as a form of public service."
Poll managers are paid $60 for each day training or working, according to Chris Whitmire, public information officer for the state Election Commission. They must be registered voters and can work in precincts in their home county or an adjoining county. Training is required for poll managers before each election and is provided for free through county offices. Training lasts about three hours and counties typically train poll managers within a month of an election.
Students ages 16 and 17 also are allowed to work the polls and earn the pay.
Whitmire said the state has a constant demand for poll managers.
"It is important to get new people, and I think the younger poll managers are inherently knowledgeable about technology," he said.
Quirk-Garvan said about 100 college-age voters have signed up with the Young Voters Initiative.
Jillian Manna, 24, of West Ashley is one of them.
Manna, who will start classes in the fall at the Charleston School of Law, will work as a poll manager in Charleston on June 8. She said working the polls is a great way to network, get to know people and see, first-hand, the matters she learned about as an undergraduate political science major.
"I wanted to get more involved in the community, more in touch with local politics," Manna said.