By Rachel Christian

Staff Writer

Nonprofit groups can help pitch in to help democracy and earn money for their organization at the same time thanks to a special program called “Adopt a Precinct.”

The Osceola County Supervisor of Elections launched the program in 2010 to engage local nonprofit groups and attract new paid poll workers. Instead of each individual earning money on Election Day as a poll worker, their earnings instead go to the charity they volunteer with.

“The reason we keep coming back is because it’s a great way to give to the community,” said Nancy Hubbard, a member of the Rotary Club Kissimmee Bay. The 43-member organization has participated in Adopt a Prescient each election since 2010 when it first launched in Osceola County.

Hubbard said the event allows Rotary Club members to catch up, chat with other locals and help promote something they all believe in – voting.

“Voting is so important, no matter who you vote for,” she said. “We all feel like it’s an important role to play.”

Hubbard and her seven co-volunteers will adopt Austin-Tindall Sports Complex as their prescient this year as they assist in primary voting Aug. 28 and the general election Nov. 6.

Twelve nonprofits are participating in the program this year. According to the Supervisor of Elections’ Office, nonprofit groups can earn between $3,600 to $5,500 by participating in the program. In years past, Hubbard said the club has used the money to help fund high school scholarships, make charitable food donations and purchase school supplies for local kids.

“It’s really a win for everyone involved,” Hubbard said.

The program requires an ample amount of personal commitment though, said the loyal volunteer, who is serving as the group’s clerk this year. All participants must complete online and in-person training each election cycle. Volunteers are then tasked with setting up and configuring equipment before polls open at 7 a.m. and manning the station until doors close at 7 p.m. Volunteers don’t count votes, but they must power down the equipment and ready it for pick-up by the Supervisor of Elections Office.

Adopt a Precinct participants donate their day to the effort, but Hubbard said she and fellow volunteers do so because they think it’s a worthy cause.

“You really have to believe in the good it’s doing,” she said. “And all of us do.”

Nonprofit groups interested in the Adopt a Precinct program can contact the Supervisor of Elections Office at 407-742-6105 to learn more.

Interested organizations should contact the office by next week for November election volunteer opportunities.

Five things to know about the Adopt a Precinct program

1. It’s a way for nonprofits to raise money. A group of volunteers can earn between $3,600 and $5,500 each election for their charity.

2. It was established by the Osceola County Supervisor of Elections Office in 2010 and takes place every two years.

3. All workers must be registered to vote, attend a one-hour orientation class and complete between two to eight hours of training.

4. Each group needs between seven to ten volunteers, and each polling location is required to have at least one bilingual worker.

The Supervisor of Elections will staff this person if the group doesn’t have a bilingual member.

5. For those interested in adopting a precinct, call Tammy Smith at 407-742-6105 or Kari Ewalt at 407-742-6100.