In all, 264 students took part in this year's Youth Election Service, a program designed to increase interest and involvement in the election system among youth ages 14-18. YES participants from 27 counties worked over 1,460 hours during the statewide elections.
Students who worked at least four hours at their polling site were entered into the drawing for a $50 savings bond from the Nebraska Bankers Association. Four winners were selected from each of the five designated districts. They include: Devan Oligmueller, Alliance; Ryan Taylor, Alliance; Kyle Bower, Arcadia; Craig Roberts, Battle Creek; Alexis Brandenburgh, Benkelman; Kindra Vanderford, Benkelman; Nicole Romine, Falls City; Wynter Ritthaler, Fremont; Micaha Pobanz, Grand Island; Veronica Interiano, Grand Island; Nalsia Interiano, Grand Island; Casandra Elder, Hemingford; Olivia Kempkes, Hickman; Elly Burton, Lincoln; Tess Whitman, Maywood; Michael Herlick, Norfolk; Miranda Newmann, Norfolk; Rebecca Adams, Ogallala; Alex Linneman, Sidney; and Ashton Schweers, Wayne.
"It is wonderful to see the kind of participation demonstrated by our young people here in Nebraska when it comes to our election process," observed Sec. John Gale. "This, in addition to the mock elections we hold, really gives students the type of hands-on experience that we hope fosters their participation in the voting process as they transition into adulthood."
Richardson County had the greatest number of participants at 36, followed by Hamilton County which had 31 participants. Five counties have taken part in the YES program since it started in 2004: Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Richardson & Lincoln.
"We really appreciate the effort that those county election clerks put into this program," said Becky Richter, program director. "They are the ones who help sustain it year after year. They facilitate and coordinate participation with the students. It's because of them that this program has had continued success."
The election clerks for those counties are: Patricia Anderson (Hamilton), Joann Fischer (Knox), Nancy Scheer (Madison), Mary Eickhoff (Richardson), and Becky Rossell (Lincoln).
There were several students who worked both the primary and general elections. They include: Brant Pavel, Chambers; Rebecca Blome, Clay Center; Emily Blome, Clay Center; Kristen Kean, Dawson; Nathan Stuckemeyer, Dawson; Jennifer Wendtlandt, Falls City; Jillian Lunsford, Falls City; Marrissa Stark, Falls City; Maygan Ramsey, Falls City; Taylor O'Brien, Falls City; Treyvin Bek, Falls City; Baylee Vrtiska, Falls City; Destiny Worthey, Humboldt; Taylor Bredemeier, Pawnee City; Paige Watkins, Stella; Paige Ann Gutzmer, Table Rock; Amanda Ruzicka, Verdigre; Kirstyn Buchholz, Verdon; Reba Kay Burgett, Verdon; and Grace Kirwan, West Point.
"I was amazed to see that some students worked 12, 13, even 14 hours at their polling places for each of the elections. That's not just a matter of helping out. That really is providing a significant community service in terms of time spent helping voters," said Gale.
All of the YES participants will receive a certificate from the Secretary of State's office honoring them for their service.
Youth Election Service Participants:
Dundy: Alexis Brandenburgh, Benkelman; Kindra Vanderford, Benkelman.
Frontier: Tess Whitman, Maywood.
Hayes: Morgan Harouff, Culbertson; Sara Wright, Culbertson; Logan Johnston, Hayes Center; Kerbie Large, Hayes Center; Taylor Cooper, Hayes Center; Erick Rodriguez, Hayes Center; Sarah Cox, Hayes Center; Kendra Cook, Hayes Center.