President Barack Obama casts his early votes  Oct. 20, 2014. Weber State students volunteer each election at the exit polls. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/MCT)
President Barack Obama casts his early votes Oct. 20, 2014. Weber State students volunteer each election at the exit polls. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

Weber State students have the opportunity to be part of something that will continue to make a difference in Utah by volunteering for the exit polls class offered here on campus.

The Utah Colleges Exit Poll is the longest running, student-operated exit poll in the country, run by students working long hours on Election Day. The number of students who contribute towards exit poll success is a little under 600 each election.

The exit poll for this year is already in development, thanks to Brigham Young University getting a head start. The developmental process includes sampling and designing surveys, training students and preparing an election night television program.

Students that volunteer to work the exit polls start their day off at 7 a.m. and don’t finish until the polls have closed. Each student hosting the survey will randomly select voters and ask if any are interested in participating.

This will start taking place Nov. 4.

“Our goal is to have the most accurate data possible,” said Jordan Beal, one of the students in charge. “We are trying to not only anticipate the turnout of the election, but the information that we ask for will also help us understand the demographic of people who vote for certain candidates and have similar views on the questions asked on the questionnaire.”

Important information on the questionnaires includes which candidates Utah voters favor most for U.S. Congress, Utah Attorney General and other state offices. Other topics covered are voters’ views of the national economy, healthcare reform, same-sex marriage and U.S. foreign policy.

Data from the survey will be used to determine voting behavior in the state.

Aside from BYU and Weber State, there are four other schools in Utah contributing to exit polls: Southern Utah University, Utah State University, Utah Valley University and Westminster College.

These colleges have helped make the poll the most accurate it has been in the 26 years since it began.

To get the resources required to complete this research, each school has come together to contribute. Additional donors help fund media for the poll.

The results will be available upon the closing of the polls at 8 p.m. on Nov. 4 via a live, televised broadcast on KBYU.

Any who wish to participate in the exit polls at Weber State this year should contact Jordan Beal at jordanbeal900@gmail.com.

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