William and Mary Law School

Law School Project Involves Area College Students in Election Process

  • TRPP Recruiters
    TRPP Recruiters
    W&M Law students recruited and helped train 66 area college students to help registrars run polling places from Norfolk to Richmond. The W&M recruiters included: (front row, from left), Alex Grout '12, Kelsey Clyburn '11, Willie Black '12. Second row: Ashleigh Casey '12, Andrew Bruskin '12, Alex MacDonald '12, Sam Robinson '11, Justin Hoover '11. Back row: Jen Lonergan '12, Jim Zadick '11, Harrison Crumrine '11, Jonathan Peterson '12.
    Photo Courtesy of the Tidewater Roots Poll Project
  • Coordinators
    Coordinators
    Alex Grout '13, left, and Sam Robinson '12 are the head coordinators of the Tidewater Roots Polling Project.

The Tidewater Roots Polling Project (TRPP) based at the William & Mary Law School trained 66 Hampton Roads area college students to work with registrars in running polling locations in today's midterm election. Participants include students from Christopher Newport University, Hampton University, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University and Regent University as well as William & Mary.

"Registrars are used to working with just a handful of college students, but through TRPP's activities this year dozens of students are involved that wouldn't have been but for the EAC [Election Assistance Commission] grant," said Rebecca Hulse, TRPP faculty advisor and William & Law professor of practice.

TRPP, a project to aid local government in recruiting and training a new generation of poll workers, is generously funded by a Help America Vote College Program grant administered by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The W&M Law School received the EAC grant this summer. The program is run by students from the school's Election Law Society (ELS) and Election Law Program (ELP). Recruited students took part in a series of training programs including a technical training session offered by registrars of the counties served.

"The program was hugely successful in bringing together experienced poll workers and college student poll workers. We were amazed by the enthusiasm of the older generation of poll workers in sharing their wisdom and experience at Virginia polls," said Alex Grout, William & Mary Law student and TRPP lead recruiter.  "The program is a great way for students and Election Law Society members to get involved with and make a positive impact on elections in this state."

TRPP's work won't end with the election. Following Election Day, the program will develop a website featuring oral histories of long-time Virginia poll workers intended to preserve their stories and inspire future generations to civic service.