Secretary Raffensperger Partners with the Georgia Center for Civic Engagement to Recruit Poll Workers

Staff Report

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is partnering with the Georgia Center for Civic Engagement to recruit poll workers for elections in November. The Secretary is spearheading this partnership with the Georgia Center for Civic Engagement (GCCE) to ensure county elections officials have the staff they need on and in the weeks before election day.

 “The Georgia Center for Civic Engagement will help us reach a younger pool of Georgians in schools across the state to help staff the polls on election day,” said Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. “When COVID-19 swept through Georgia, Georgia’s vulnerable elderly poll workers stayed home to stay safe from the pandemic. Through these public-private partnerships, like the one with the Georgia Center for Civic Engagement, we will fill the gaps with younger poll workers and help provide a smooth and efficient experience for Georgia’s voters in November.”

“We are hopeful that our innovative initiatives will inspire young people to not only get involved in this year’s election, but to teach students that ‘democracy is not a spectator sport.’  By teaching students how government works, we empower them to use their voice to influence their communities both now and in the future,” said Dr. Randell Trammell, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Georgia Center for Civic Engagement. 

The Georgia Center for Civic Engagement is rolling out this recruitment initiative in conjunction with their YOUth VOTE program. YOUth VOTE is a free online mock election for Georgia students K-12 to participate in before this year’s November election. Currently, more than 120,000 students are registered to participate in the mock election. This event is an opportunity to educate and prepare students to participate in their government by voting. In addition to the mock election, GCCE is also coordinating a voter registration drive for eligible high school students. This partnership with the poll worker recruitment effort furthers GCCE’s mission to educate and equip students to become informed and active citizens.

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 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.  

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.