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Civic Engagement

Political Engagement

Political engagement means playing an active role in your community (locally, nationally, or internationally) by being involved in the democratic process, participating in public life, and collaborating with community organizations to solve community problems.

Rochester Center for Community Leadership (RCCL) convenes the Committee for Political Engagement and advises student organizations with a political focus, including the College Democrats and the College Republicans. We also serve as a resource for other student organizations planning activities with a political focus, such as awareness groups, fraternities, and sororities. 

Monroe County Election Fellows Program

The Monroe County Election Fellows Program (MCEF) fosters student civic engagement by recruiting, training, and retaining college poll workers. MCEF is a unique collaboration between the Rochester Center for Community Leadership, Monroe County Board of Elections, Roberts Wesleyan College, Monroe Community College, Nazareth College, and St. John Fisher.

Election Fellows

Two students from each partner institution are hired as Election Fellows. They receive advanced technical, civic, and leadership training and are responsible for designing and implementing strategies to recruit poll workers from their respective colleges. Election Fellows must be registered to vote in Monroe County as either a Democrat or a Republican, or be willing to update their registration to meet these requirements. Learn more about the Election Fellows position here. Election Fellow applications for 2018 are now closed.

Election Inspectors

Monroe County Election Inspectors are responsible for overseeing elections in Monroe County. Election inspectors work in bi-partisan teams at polling sites across the county to ensure that voters are processed in a fair and efficient manner according to election law. Responsibilities include signing in voters, handing out ballots, assisting voters with disabilities, and explaining new voting technology.  

Intersted in being an Election Inspector? Contact Abbie Deacon at to learn more. 

Voter Registration Drives

Voting is one of the key ways that you can contribute to the democratic process. RCCL partners with the Rochester chapter of the League of Women Voters to get students registered to vote and out to the polls.

Students can choose to register to vote using their University address, which allows them to vote here on campus at the Saunders Research building. Alternately, they can register with their home address and request an absentee ballot, which RCCL will mail free of charge. 

See the voter registration guide for information on how to register. Since 2012, Rochester has participated in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE). You can see the 2016 University of Rochester NSLVE data for our voting rates.

Elected Officials

Below is some useful information about elected officials for students looking to register in Rochester.

City of Rochester officials:

  • Mayor's Office: The Mayor’s Office is responsible for the administration of all city affairs, including:
    • Approving local laws and ordinances
    • Enforcing laws
    • Appointing department heads and members of certain boards and commissions
    • City Council: The council sets fiscal policies and approves all spending for the City of Rochester. They are also responsible for the regulation of land use, including zoning laws. Council members will often propose new programs at the suggestion of city residents.
    • Rochester City School Board: The Rochester Board of Education is a seven-member board elected by the citizens of Rochester to direct and oversee the operations of the school district.

Monroe County officials:

New York State Legislature:

For general information on the branches of government in New York State, check out the New York State Senate's website.

United States Congress: