ATLANTA, Ga. (WALB) - Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is partnering with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to recruit poll workers for elections in November.
The secretary said this partnership with GDOT is to ensure county elections officials have the staff they need on and in the weeks before election day.
“The Georgia Department of Transportation will help us reach a wide range of Georgians to help recruit poll workers for election day,” said Raffensperger. “When COVID-19 swept through Georgia, Georgia’s elderly poll workers stayed home to minimize their exposure to the pandemic. Through these partnerships, like the one with the Georgia Department of Transportation, we will be able to recruit younger poll workers and help provide a safe and easy experience for Georgia’s voters in November.”
“Georgia DOT is pleased to assist the Georgia Office of the Secretary of State in sharing essential poll worker recruitment information to ensure there are adequate numbers of poll workers to serve voters on election day,” said GDOT Commissioner Russell R. McMurry.
Georgia poll workers were on average above 65 years old. When the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the United States, this particularly vulnerable population understandably opted to stay home and avoid the risk of exposure to the virus.
As a result, polling locations across the state were short-staffed on election day and limited in their ability to train new poll workers due to the constraints of the pandemic.
To fill this gap, Secretary Raffensperger said he is partnering with numerous organizations in the state to help recruit younger, less-at-risk populations to staff the polls on election day. By working with a wide array of private and nonprofit organizations, Raffensperger is hoping to reach new areas of Georgia to pull people off of the sidelines.
On June 9, Georgia saw record turnout for a statewide general primary election. Notwithstanding a state record for absentee ballots cast by mail, Georgia saw over 800,000 people vote on election day itself. More than 300,000 voted early, in person, during Georgia’s three weeks of early voting, according to a press release by the secretary of state office.
In-person voting remains as important as ever. Looking forward to November, turnout is expected to be as much as three times as high.
This means county officials need a stable of young poll workers to step up and help their communities on election day.