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
- 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.
- So far, ACLU-GA has already recruited over 2,200 prospective poll workers, with new sign-ups coming in each day. Over 1,400 of these prospective poll workers are residents of the four largest counties. (Updated 10/9/2020).
- Consistent with the June 9 primary, questions regarding the proper procedures and election law will inevitably arise in November. The ACLU of Georgia is looking to recruit 700 lawyers to work the polls in the four largest counties, with approximately one lawyer per polling site. The ACLU of Georgia is also petitioning the State Bar of Georgia to grant Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits for lawyers who train and serve as poll workers. Poll workers with legal knowledge will prove invaluable, and Georgia lawyers are especially well-suited to serve our democratic process and further their professional development.
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.