The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office is launching a new essay contest for students age 16 and older who serve as poll officials for the Nov. 3 election.
“Serving as a poll official is an unmatched opportunity for students to see our electoral process in action,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “Students participating in this contest not only have the opportunity to win scholarship money by sharing their election experience in writing, but they are helping their local election commission run a safe and secure election.”
Contest winners will receive a TNStars 529 College Savings Program scholarship. Each of Tennessee’s Grand Divisions will have a first, second and third place winner. The three first-place winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship with the second and third place winners receiving $500 and $250 scholarships respectively.
The contest is open to any Tennessee resident who is age 16 or older and is enrolled in a public, charter or private school or home school association. Essays will be judged based on creativity, organization, development of ideas and response to the theme, Civic Duty. For contest rules and guidelines, visit sos.tn.gov/products/civics-essay-contest.
Students who serve as poll officials may help with several critical polling site tasks, including greeting voters, answering questions and processing absentee by-mail ballots. Poll officials are compensated for working on Election Day and for attending required training sessions.
All poll officials, including essay contest participants, are supplied with face coverings, gowns, face shields, gloves and other personal protective equipment and are trained in social distancing protocols.
This essay contest is part of the Secretary of State’s civics engagement initiative to prepare students to be actively engaged citizens. For more information about the essay contest and our other civic engagement education efforts, visit sos.tn.gov/civics.
To apply to be a poll official in your county, visit pollworkers.govotetn.com.