Loyola Cancels Class on Election Day to Foster Election Engagement
In keeping with its public service and social justice mission, Loyola Law School has launched an effort to foster nonpartisan engagement with the election process. There are multiple prongs to the program, but the centerpiece is Election Day: as of 2018, Loyola will hold no classes on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November in every even-numbered year.
This space in the schedule makes possible the signature element of Loyola’s program: LLS is making a major push to encourage members of the Loyola community to serve as pollworkers. Service as a pollworker represents an unparalleled opportunity for law students to become government officials for the day, gaining practical experience in the interpretation and application of overlapping federal and local regulations. And when Loyola students, many of whom have facility in multiple languages, serve as pollworkers, they also fill a substantial community need. Loyola students will be serving as pollworkers throughout the region, including in a few particularly hard-to-staff polling stations where all of the officials will be members of the Loyola community. Individuals serving may earn cash or pro bono credit, and other incentives.
Members of the Loyola community can sign up to participate at this link.
Though the pollworker project is the signature element of Loyola’s program, the effort has several components:
- When Loyola students register for spring classes, they will see a link to register to vote just below the link to begin course registration.
- Several student organizations will be tabling throughout the semester, with particular presence on National Voter Registration Day, to encourage all eligible Loyola students to register, and to ensure that their registrations are up to date. Students will also be able to check their current registration, in LA and beyond.
- All Loyola students now have online access to TurboVote, which makes it easy for eligible students to register, to apply for absentee ballots, and to receive election information and reminders.
- In the run-up to Election Day, Loyola will be hosting several panels and speakers on issues particularly salient in the upcoming election.
- On Election Day itself, there will be no classes, freeing students to serve as pollworkers. In partnership with the office of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, hard-to-staff polling places will be run by a dedicated team of Loyola students in Bel Air, Hermosa Beach, Hollywood, Jefferson Park, Lomita, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, South Gate, and Valencia; students may also serve elsewhere, in LA County or Orange County or beyond. Students who serve as pollworkers can earn invaluable experience, as well as a monetary stipend or (for students after their first semester) pro bono credit, and other incentives – including a reprieve from cold-calling in some classes.
- Students who aren’t able to serve as pollworkers can also assist with several nonpartisan Election Protection efforts, including efforts run by organizations serving language minority communities in the Los Angeles area.
Many faculty, staff, students, and organizations have contributed to this effort. We want to thank and acknowledge, in particular, the Office of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, Loyola's Office of the Registrar, and the LLS campus chapters of the ACLU, American Constitution Society, Immigration Law Society, La Raza, and Public Interest Law Foundation for their organizational help and support.