ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - On Wednesday, the Secretary of State’s Office announced that they have launched a new partnership with the Georgia Municipal Association to recruit poll workers for the November election.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Secretary of State’s Office said the majority of Georgia’s poll workers were over the age of 65.
Now, the office hopes that this new partnership will “reach less-at-risk populations to staff the polls on election day.”
Ginger Nickerson, Elections Board Supervisor for Dougherty County, said they have already seen many poll worker applicants for this election season.
“We do have quite of applicants now, not saying that we are denying anyone. We want everyone to apply. Once you’ve applied, a poll worker will be in touch to hire you for a position, and then you are informed of the training, what day, what time. Training generally lasts an hour or two. It just depends. We just want to make sure they understand, because we do have hands-on training. And that’s what we try to hold for our poll workers,” said Nickerson.
If you’d like to apply for a poll worker position in Dougherty County, click here.
The Secretary of State’s Office is also appealing a federal judge’s recent decision.
It requires every voting precinct in the state to keep an updated, paper poll book.
Gabriel Sterling, Statewide Voting Implementation Manager with the Secretary of State’s Office, said this decision was unnecessary.
He said polling places in Georgia have had these paper poll books ready for the past 20 years.
“Some litigation has been going on since 2017. I mean this just keeps on dragging on, and the relief has been ordered to have backup paper poll books has been the law of the land in Georgia for 20 years now. Some counties didn’t follow the law, so we were happy to have the judge remind them they need to do that," said Sterling.
He said the new electronic poll books, which were introduced with the new election system last year, operated well during the June primaries, with a few exceptions.
“The poll books work really well. There’s a couple of counties, and mainly I’m sure you saw, up in Fulton County where they had a lot of issues, but all of the issues that we saw in June (70% of them) were all in Fulton County. They’re doing a really hard work trying to make sure that doesn’t happen again. And your viewing area, we had almost no issues. People walked in, they voted, and it was a simple process. Hopefully will see the same thing, even though we expect two or three times many people to show up, a similar, ease of use, and a simple and easy secure voting experience for all the voters out there who show up on November 3," said Sterling.
Sterling said he doesn’t think the pending litigation will be resolved before the November general election.
Sterling also said that for the next few weeks, your mailbox may be filled with postcards from various organizations.
“Got a couple of samples here- here’s one from the Republican Party of Georgia. Here’s one from the Democratic Party of Georgia, then you’re going to have other voting advocacy groups. I mean, most stuff you get in there if it has the application on there and the registrar’s address, it’ll work fine," said Sterling.
When it comes to requesting an absentee ballot or registering to vote, Ginger Nickerson says you only need to fill out one of these pieces of mail.
“So, we’ve had issues with- well, not issues should I say- instances where voters are mailing in multiple applications. And of course, with our office and with the law, we have to process them. So we’re, of course, processing them as duplicates and we’re placing it in the state system. So we continue to stress to everyone to follow reputable sites, to follow the Dougherty County elections, to follow the Secretary of State, to not look at information flyers that may be posted that do not contain either one of those logos that someone has created because it is their own creation is not necessarily the law," said Nickerson.
If you’re concerned about your ballot getting back to your local elections office, Sterling says there’s a way you can be sure.
“One of the really good things we have in Georgia now is we have something called BallotTrax. You can put in your information. So when you send that application in, you will get a text message or an email saying, ‘hey, we’ve gotten your request in.’ You don’t have to do anything else after. The county has your request, then we’ll give you a notification that your ballot has been mailed. And then when you vote that ballot and send it back, they will send you a notification saying we’ve accepted your ballot," said Sterling.
And if you’re struggling to look through the mail to see what will be on the November ballot, Nickerson says there’s another way.
“We will strongly encourage them to go into the ‘My Voter’ page to review their sample ballot. So this way they know what issues, what questions, what candidates, what individuals are representing them. They can review that before they go and cast their ballot. They’ll be informed," said Nickerson.
You can access the My Voter page here.