Student project with Snohomish County Department of Elections

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This fall's BIS 175 American Government & Politics class worked on a quarter-long group project with the Snohomish County Department of Elections and the UW Bothell Community-Based Learning & Research (CBLR) office. 

Garth Fell (Snohomish County Elections manager) and Duncan Clauson (Elections and Voter Outreach Specialist) helped launch the class project in the beginning of the quarter by providing the class with data on election turn out in Snohomish County in recent elections.  Garth and Duncan also gave a talk about voter engagement in Snohomish county and hosted a Q & A with students. 

Students then broke into teams of five and did research for most of the quarter on various aspects of the voting process.  Projects included research into best practices of voter engagement and voter proficiency, barriers to voting (especially amongst disenfranchised groups), socioeconomic and linguistic factors that impact voter participation, and strategies to increase youth engagement. 

The projects culminated in group presentations given to Garth, Duncan, and CBLR staff near the end of the quarter.  To enrich their projects, students read Ari Berman’s Give Us The Ballot, which focuses on the legacy of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and current efforts to inhibit voter participation through, inter alia, ID laws, poll purges, and gerrymandering.