Georgia’s June 9 primary election was plagued by long lines, extreme delays, equipment malfunctions and an overall shortage of poll workers. The COVID-19 pandemic led many poll workers to drop out, exacerbating previous staffing challenges. Furthermore, as a result of the rapid implementation of Georgia’s new voting system, poll workers faced a cast of new technical challenges, and most poll workers lacked hands-on training with new equipment. Glaring procedural blind spots resulted in the improper use of provisional ballots, failure to legally cancel absentee ballots for in-person voters, and early closures of polling locations. Unfortunately, these issues are among many that led to voter disenfranchisement during the June primaries.

In response to the events of June 9, the ACLU of Georgia created its Poll Worker Recruitment Program, which was announced on July 19, 2020. Through targeted recruitment, we aim to recruit and support poll workers who are younger Georgians who are at lower risk of COVID-19 complications, lawyers who are committed to understanding the ins and outs of election law and administration, and tech-savvy Georgians who will help keep the electronic voter machines and technology up and running.

Phase One: August 11th Runoff Election - Complete

  • The ACLU of Georgia recruited over 50 poll workers for the August 11 runoff to work in over 40 precincts across the state. Poll workers began training prior to the August 11 runoff election in order to gain experience prior to serving on November 3.

Phase Two: November 3rd General Election - Complete

  • The ACLU of Georgia set out to recruit at least 1,000 poll workers in the four largest counties: Cobb, Gwinnett, Fulton, and Dekalb. We also aimed to recruit 2,000 poll workers in total across the state. 
  • We recruited over 2,700 prospective poll workers, with new sign-ups coming in each day. Over 1,500 of these prospective poll workers are residents of the four largest counties. (Updated 11/10/2020).
  • The ACLU of Georgia recruited 300+ lawyers to work the polls on Nov. 3 as special On-site Fulton County Deputy Registrars. One lawyer was stationed at each of the 255 polling sites in Fulton County in order to cancel absentee ballots for voters who had requested them, but instead wanted to legally vote in person on Election Day. This program removed the need for Poll Managers to call a central county office for absentee ballot cancellation, a process which caused significant wait times during the June 9 primary election. This program shortened wait times for voters and allowed the Poll Managers to focus on other necessary aspects of running their polling places.

Phase Three: December 1st, 2020 and January 5th, 2021 Runoff Elections

  • The ACLU of Georgia aims to communicate with Poll Workers and Poll Managers that served in previous elections in order to have the most prepared poll workers for the upcoming runoff elections on December 1 and January 5.
  • We also hope to expand the successful Deputy Registrar Program that was piloted in Fulton County. This program could be implemented by other large counties in Georgia in the upcoming runoff elections.

ACLU of Georgia’s Poll Worker Sign Up
ACLU of Georgia’s Deputy Registrar Sign Up

Sign up to be an ACLU of Georgia Poll Worker!  

Polling Precinct Adoption Program
• In addition to recruiting poll workers, the ACLU of Georgia will assist  civic organizations in “adopting” polling precincts. Adopting a polling precinct will allow members of organizations to manage a polling location together. This will ensure that polling precincts are fully staffed, that any issues that arise can be addressed well with a team that is used to working together, and that the community has trust in the polling precinct and process.

Adopt a Poll Program