I’m sure most of you have seen a few polls around campus with people urging you to vote in the NJPIRG Referendum lately. I get that feeling. You just want to get to your next class or stop by to eat at the student center. But then a poll worker shouts out to you to spend 30 seconds of your time to vote. At first, you cast in your ballot, write down on the envelope, and leave. But once you roam somewhere else, there are a more poll areas waiting for you all around college campus: It doesn’t matter which one you’re in: College Avenue, Busch, Livingston, and Camp Douglass. They’re everywhere and you’re confused. But what is this poll for anyways?
It’s for the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG), a non-profit consumer group that strives to solve many environmental, democratic, and consumer rights issues. The NJPIRG Student Chapters is a student-run public interest group working on Rutgers University for 40 years. Every three years, RU students are asked to support the continuing funding of the NJPIRG and the Student Chapters through a referendum vote. If you had already visited a poll area, you might get a quick info dump on what it is all about. But your support is up to you.
I happen to be a poll worker myself, earning $8.38 per hour. It is my responsibility to stand around my poll area and encourage students to come vote while remaining impartial to their votes, which is an easy thing for me to do because I have experience in being in a neutral position. It is sometimes frustrating because a lot of people are not willing to vote. And as time goes by, many will claim that they already voted. But when I do manage to get someone to vote, I show them the ballot and then verify their identity through their name, school division, birthday, and RU ID. As I do this, I tally up the number of votes I get depending on each school division. For example, I could get 4 votes on School of Arts and Sciences or 2 on Business School. Once my shift is over, I calculate the total number of votes I’ve gotten to the main referendum poll before I sign out. It sounds like hard work, yes, but someone’s got to help keep the polls on track. If you haven’t cast your vote yet, go visit a local poll area to do so! It’ll only take 30 seconds of your time.