What is Student Democracy Program?

The San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division's Student Democracy Program is aimed at giving high school students an inside look at American democracy in action. Student Democracy Ambassadors are essential members of the Election Day team, assisting voters and participating in Vote Center operations.

Who can participate?

In order to be a Student Democracy Ambassador, students must:

  • Read, write and speak fluent English (Elections Code §12303)
  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have a minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident of the United States
  • Get written permission from parent/guardian and school

When does Student Democracy Program take place?

  • Recruitment begins in November
  • Applications are due by 5 p.m. January 26, 2024
  • Training (two hours) will be in February
  • Election Day is Tuesday, March 5, 2024

What are the benefits of participating Student Democracy Program?

  • It looks great on a college application or resume
  • Earn community service credits, depending on school policy
  • Represent your school
  • See democracy in action from a local perspective
  • Earn $280!

What do Student Democracy Ambassadors do?

Assist Vote Center Representatives with:

  • Set up and close the Vote Center (6:30 a.m.–9:00 p.m.) on Election Day!
  • Help voters with check-in process
  • Ballot drop-off process
  • Line management (Manage voter lines)
  • Disinfect voting materials and equipment

How do I apply?

  1. Pick up an application from your Student Democracy Program School Coordinator or
    Download an Application Here 

  2. Fill out the application.
  3. Get your parent/guardian’s signature for permission on your application.
  4. Get all your teachers’ signatures for permission on your application.
  5. Fill out the W-4 IRS Information Sheet which must be returned with your application.
  6. A copy of your Social Security card or Permanent Residency card.
  7. Give your signed application to your Student Democracy Program School Coordinator or to the Registration & Elections Division by the deadline (via mail or in person)

How do I know if my application was accepted?

If your application is accepted you will receive a letter via email from the Registration & Elections Division with your training information and Vote Center assignment. A limited number of students per school are allowed and are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. If you do not receive an assignment letter by two weeks before the election, please call 650.655.6205 or email

Do I have to attend a training class?

Yes. All Student Democracy Ambassadors are required to attend a 2-hour training class conducted by the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division, held at 40 Tower Road, or a satellite location.

What if I can’t make my training class?

If you cannot attend your scheduled class, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the beginning of the class to reschedule or you may be dismissed from the program.

How long will I have to work on Election Day?

Election Day is Tuesday March 5, 2024. It is a long day, and students are expected to work from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. You are given two 1-hour breaks during the day. You must finish the entire shift. Half-shifts are not available.

What if I can’t work on Election Day?

If you have to cancel, you must contact the Registration & Elections Division immediately. No-shows will be disqualified from the program, and your school will be notified.

How much will I get paid?

All Student Democracy Ambassadors receive $280.00 for attending the training class and working on Election Day. In order to receive a paycheck, you must complete the required training class, return your complete application, including the copy of your social security card and work the entire Election Day.

When do I get paid?

  • Checks take up to 30 days to process.
  • If you haven’t received your paycheck by the middle of April, give us a call.
  • You cannot get paid until we have your signed W-4 IRS Information Form.
  • Please ensure you provide your correct name, mailing address and Social Security number. Incorrect information or late submitted W-4 information will delay payment.

Where will I be assigned to work?

The County of San Mateo will strive to assign students to locations close to their home address.

How do I get more information?

  • Your Student Democracy Program School Coordinator
  • Chephren Goree, Student Democracy Program Coordinator
  • Phone: 650.655.6287
  • Email:
Download Student Democracy Program Application in PDF Student Democracy Program Flyer in PDF