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Students, Election Commission Team Up to Create Social Media Pages

A group of Doane College students needed a senior seminar project this fall, and the Lancaster County Election Commission needed a way to reach more potential voters, especially those who rely on social media for news.

By working together, the election commission was able to Tweet its election results Nov. 6 and share information through Facebook.

And the four Doane students finishing up degrees in public administration gained a front-line look at life in public service. Jessica Davis, Aishah Witte, Michael Fowler and Danielle Stahlnecker all took part in the collaboration.

“Even if we reached a handful of people we hadn’t reached before this was a good start. After the students are done we’ll continue this project and it will grow,” Lancaster County Election Commissioner David Shively said.

The project began in August. The students became deputy registrars and hosted three voter-registration drives on Doane’s Lincoln campus. They refreshed training presentations for poll workers and helped set up Twitter and Facebook accounts, researching and posting daily to both. Social media gave the commission a place to share formal information: what deadlines were approaching or the last day to request an absentee ballot. But it also provided a place to post friendly messages about how there are four presidential candidates on the ballot this year – even if most people only know of two – or to tell voters how they can combine grocery shopping and voter registration.
On election day, students tweeted, posted and lent a hand in the election commission office.

Now, students will continue to develop online training and renewal programs for deputy registrars, the teams who register people to vote outside of the election commission office.

“The Doane students were great. They had good questions and good ideas,” Shively said. On the flip side, he said he hoped the time working with his office gave them knowledge they could use in their field.

For more on the project, check out the Lincoln Journal Star.