A national election provides a number of different ways for engagement. Engagement that is non-partisan, unconnected with a particular candidate or campaign, and broad in nature can count as service. Engagement focused on a single candidate or political party does not qualify as service through FSU ServScript. Below are some examples we hope you will find helpful.
What counts as service hours?
Volunteer Poll Working: Everyone who volunteers to work at the polls must remain objective and unbiased. This is a high-need area during any elections season, but especially during a pandemic when typical poll volunteers may fall into high-risk groups. Poll workers are typically compensated for their time, but you are also given the option to have your wages donated to a non-profit or organization. If you choose to donate your wages, poll working counts as service. Training required in order to volunteer also counts as service hours.
Vote-by-mail Drop Off Location Volunteer: Given Covid-19 precautions, many counties have increased the number of approved drop-off locations for voters to bring their completed Vote-by-Mail ballots. Volunteers are needed to staff these locations to ensure safety of ballot collection.
Non-Partisan Voter Registration: The right to vote is essential. Every vote counts. If you are helping to register people to vote, regardless of their party affiliation or personal ideologies, it counts as service. The act of registering yourself to vote does not count as service.
What might count as service hours:
Issue Advocacy: Advocacy is a form of service. Educating others on a specific social issue may count as service, so long as you are not telling or encouraging others how to vote/feel about the issue. Issue advocacy should be about a social issue, not about a specific political party or individual. Examples include: Environmental education, promotion of an amendment, outreach for a voter initiative.
Activism: Some forms of activism also qualify as service. Participating in the democratic process of your campus/local/state/federal government and advocating for a specific issue can count as service, so long as you can identify a non-partisan community need for that activism. Examples include talking to elected officials, calling/writing decision makers, attending and speaking during public comment at open meetings, etc.
Calling and writing your elected officials or collecting signatures for a petition can count as service, but be careful how you count your hours—you can only count hours for issues that are non-partisan and non-party-affiliated.
What does not count as service hours:
Campaigning for a candidate or political party: Encouraging someone how to vote, trying to get people with a specific viewpoint to vote, or advocating for one political party or candidate never qualify as service that is eligible for your ServScript.
Promoting one political party or ideology: Promoting just one political party or encouraging others to vote along party lines or in a particular ideological fashion does not qualify as service for your ServScript.
Working for a campaign/political party: If you are receiving a paycheck or other formal compensation, you cannot log hours on ServScript. Even if not being financially compensated, volunteering for a campaign or political party is not eligible for ServScript hours.
How to select an agency for election-based service:
While it will not always be as clear cut as we would prefer, we encourage you to think about the coordinating body, non-profit organization, or ultimate beneficiary of your service hours. Consider some of the following groups/organizations that you could serve with:
- Your local Supervisor of Elections Office.
- The city/county in which your issue advocacy occurred.
- A national voter organization or non-partisan voting group:
- Campus Election Engagement Project,
- Campus Vote Project,
- Florida PIRGs,
- Rock the Vote.
- A non-profit or organization that also advocates for the same issue that was part of your advocacy work.
Can’t find your agency listed? You can always submit a request that we add an agency to the ServScript database. It usually takes us 1-2 weeks to review and add new agencies. The final date to request to add an agency for fall 2020 is Friday, December 4, 2020.