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Options for volunteering at election time

April 21, 2015 ATA News Staff

Now that the writ has dropped for a provincial general election, Elections Alberta, the province’s nine registered political parties, their candidates and independent candidates will need volunteers. As a teacher who is interested in the future of public education, you might consider lending your skills during or after the 28-day campaign period.

Volunteering at election time can be exciting and rewarding, provide insight into the electoral process, issues and candidates, and can also provide the opportunity to influence the calibre and outcome of the campaign. By becoming politically engaged with the party or candidate of your choice, you can also help determine the conditions under which you teach and your students learn. Perhaps most important, your engagement will help demonstrate to students through personal example the values of citizenship and democracy.

You can volunteer in either a partisan or a non-partisan capacity. More than 16,000 Albertans serve as non-partisan election workers during provincial elections. Some, including deputy returning officers, registration officers and poll clerks, work only at advance polling stations and at polling stations on election day. All election workers receive modest remuneration for their services.

You can also volunteer in a partisan capacity for a party or candidate. Positions can involve door knocking, sign distribution, fundraising, communications, phone canvassing, volunteer co-ordination, scheduling and election day organizing. Often, one person will perform two or more roles. Many campaigns will try to match each prospective volunteer with the most appropriate role. You may even want to try out a few roles to find the one you’re best suited for. ❚

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