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TN Secretary of State launches essay contest, scholarship opportunity for students serving as poll officials

Essays will be judged based on creativity, organization, development of ideas and response to the theme, Civic Duty. Students must be at least 16 years old.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office is launching a new essay contest for students who serve as poll officials for the Nov. 3 election.

Contest winners will receive a TNStars 529 College Savings Program scholarship, according to Hargett's office. 

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.

Hargett said the contest is open to any Tennessee resident who is at least 16 years old 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 the Secretary of State's website.

This essay contest is part of the Secretary of State’s civics engagement initiative to prepare students to be actively engaged citizens.

“Serving as a poll official is an unmatched opportunity for students to see our electoral process in action,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “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.”

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, according to Hargett's office.

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, according to the Secretary of State's office.

To apply to be a poll official in your county, visit pollworkers.govotetn.com.

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