The D.C. Council recently passed emergency legislation that will transport District teenagers from the periphery of the democratic process to its gritty front lines. The Youth Pollworker Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 will allow 16- and 17-year-old District youths to work at the polls in upcoming elections. At a public hearing on March 15, Alice P. Miller, executive director of the Board of Elections and Ethics, opined that the preternatural exposure to Election Day activities would help transform the participants into lifelong voters. And, besides, the setup would help the board in a pinch. For the fall 2000 general elections, the board recruited 1,622 poll workers, of whom only 1,402 showed up. Miller believes that the teenagers—enticed by the possibility of a $100 paycheck and time off from school—will provide a reliable source of backup labor. “Children get excited by elections in schools,” says Miller. “They get excited about elections, period.” —Felix Gillette