University of Rochester

EVENT: Rochester Undergrads to Meet with U.S. Election Assistance Commission Director

September 30, 2010

WHO: Thomas R. Wilkey, the executive director of the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC), will meet with undergraduate students from the University of Rochester during a question-and-answer session. The discussion will focus on the nation's voting process, the Help America Vote Act of 2002, and the difference the youth vote can make.

During the session, Wilkey will meet with the University's Election Fellows, a select group of students who will work as college poll inspectors during November's elections, thanks to a grant from the EAC.

TIME, DATE, PLACE: 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, in the Gowen Room in Wilson Commons on the University of Rochester's River Campus. View a campus map here.

ABOUT THE ELECTION FELLOWS: The Election Fellows program is a partnership among the University, Monroe Community College, Roberts Wesleyan College, and the Monroe County Board of Elections. Through the program, 150 students (50 from each school) were trained to work at Monroe County's polling sites, where they will assist voters as they cast their ballots in the November 2nd election. The grant will fund a stipend for each student and help alleviate the costs associated with running the program.

In addition to the 150 undergraduates who will work at the polls, six students were selected as Election Fellows. In this leadership role, Election Fellows participated in a "boot camp" that trained them to use the voting machines, taught recruitment techniques, and introduced them to the bi-partisan election process.

ABOUT THE ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION: Following the 2000 presidential election, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act of 2002, which created new standards for the voting process. In 2003, as a part of HAVA, the United States EAC was established as a resource for election officials and voters. Thomas R. Wilkey has served as executive director of EAC since 2005. Prior to this federal position, Wilkey oversaw the New York State Board of Elections from 1992 until 2003.

A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Wilkey has more than three decades of experience in election administration and served on the Erie County Board of Elections before working at the state level.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: For more information, call Melissa Greco Lopes at 585-260-6666.