Georgia Secretary of State, corporations partner for election safety amid pandemic

Georgia Secretary of State, corporations partner for election safety amid pandemic
(Source: WALB)

ATLANTA (WALB) - The Georgia Secretary of State’s office is working with corporations to provide better safety measures during the November election amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and GAVotingWorks is working with The Home Depot to provide Plexiglas dividers for poll workers across the state. The two are also working with Cox Enterprises and Roadie to pay for and deliver 20 absentee ballot drop boxes ahead of the November election.

“Georgia’s great corporations, like Home Depot, Cox Enterprises, and Roadie, serve as critical components not only of our state’s economy but also our state’s civil society,” said Raffensperger. “I thank these two companies for helping keep our poll workers and voters safe, and for proving important partners in our efforts to uphold ballot access during this unprecedented pandemic.”

“The outpouring of support from the business community for our fellow citizens and election officials has been truly remarkable,” Betsy Armentrout, GaVotingWorks founder, said. “We are all moving rapidly to meet the needs with creative solutions for a safe, smooth and accessible election process.”

“We’re proud to deploy safety measures at polling places to protect voters and volunteers just as we have done in our stores for customers and associates,” said Heather Kennedy, vice president of government relations at The Home Depot. “It’s critical people feel safe casting their ballots in this election."

Kennedy said along with providing employees voter education tools, Home Depot is sharing opportunities to volunteer as poll workers.

"We’re proud that over 1,800 associates have answered the call to serve in their communities,” she said.

“These ballot boxes are essential election equipment this year, and Cox is proud to support the safe, secure and accessible gathering of votes across Georgia” said Maury Wolfe, with AVP Corporate Responsibility and Public Affairs.

“Roadie delivers everything from cupcakes to couches. Why not democracy?” said Kayla Duperrault, Roadie’s head of people. “Cox has done a wonderful thing sponsoring these ballot dropboxes. We’re proud to get them to the communities where they’re so sorely needed to ensure Georgia’s voters have a smooth election experience.”

Through the efforts of GaVotingWorks, which is a non-partisan effort to convene Georgia businesses for employee engagement in elections, the secretary of state’s office said Home Depot, Cox Enterprises, and Roadie have agreed to make significant contributions to upholding ballot access during the pandemic.

Some 9,209 countertop Plexiglas shields for poll workers at Georgia’s expected 2,800 polling locations on Election Day will be provided. The secretary of state’s office said these shields will go to the 126 of 159 Georgia counties who requested them, each county getting the total requested, including 1,200 going to Fulton County.

Cox Enterprises will cover the cost of 20 absentee ballot drop boxes around the state. The boxes will be distributed where there is the greatest need across the state and provide the first and only ballot boxes accessible in five rural counties, according to the secretary of state’s office.

“This gift aligns with Cox Enterprise’s commitment to ensure that everyone has access needed to cast their ballot this fall as the company has granted employees six hours of paid time off to vote,” the secretary of state’s office said in a release.

Roadie, an Atlanta-based startup, will provide free delivery of the absentee boxes to get them set up as quickly as possible.

The secretary of state’s office said more than 1.1 million Georgians voted by absentee ballot during the June 9 primary elections and around 1.75 million are expected to vote that way during the upcoming November elections.

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