Students in Mr. Ryan Brueckmann’s AP U.S. Government and Politics class took a field trip to the St. Louis County Board of Elections office on Tuesday. The learning opportunity included a tour of the office and hands-on experience using real voting equipment raising students’ interest to be part of the election process.
Tuesday was the first day of candidate filing for the April 2022 election and students were able to learn how an entire election is conducted.
“There’s a lot of preparation work that goes into conducting any election and we were able to show students every step of the process,” said Rick Stream, co-director of the St. Louis Board of Elections. “The students asked a lot of good questions and we were able to demonstrate the steps we put into place to ensure fairness, objectivity and accuracy in every election.”
The tour was set up by 2015 Pattonville High School alumnus Ryan Moser who is currently an election judge coordinator and was in Brueckmann’s class as a student.
“It was great to reach out to a former teacher of mine and bring some students in here,” Moser said. “I know when I was in high school, I would have really loved this experience because it’s a chance to see what goes on in the real world.”
Brueckmann has had guest speakers from the Board of Elections visit his classroom before but he’s never taken his students on this field trip.
“Ryan [Moser] emailed me looking to recruit more student judges which we have not had a lot of from Pattonville in the past,” Brueckmann said. “To help share that information, and because we’re right down the street, we were able to work out an opportunity to visit the office.”
The St. Louis County Board of Elections seeks high school students to work at polling places as student election judges. Participating students are compensated for their service along with getting a great hands-on introduction to the democratic process.
“Students can earn $145 or up to 16 community service hours for graduation,” student election judge program coordinator Jim McHugh said. “They attend a training session and then stay for the entire election day and receive a behind-the-scenes election experience.”
Those over the age of 18 can earn $175 for their participation.
Brueckmann said it was cool for students to walk through the building and get this hands-on opportunity.
“A lot of them will be 18 by the April election and this was a great way to see how everything works.”