Coughlin, a former retired director at Dragon Con, helped manage the electorate, made sure they were socially aloof, and explained what to expect from Georgia’s new voting system, which uses touchscreens to print paper votes.
Georgians have responded to Facebook advertisements and outreach from groups such as the Secretary of State, Metro Atlanta Chamber, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Metro Atlanta Chamber spread the word of the demand for election workers and urged companies to encourage their employees to lend a hand. Some companies give their employees paid time off to take the surveys.
So far, over 1,000 people have volunteered to avoid the voting problems during the primaries, said Dave Williams, vice president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Many come from Delta Air Lines, which contacted active employees, retirees, and those on leave.
“We can do better, we have to do better and we are determined to be part of that process,” said Williams.
Election workers are ultimately hired by their county’s electoral offices, and not all who have applied will make the cut. Some will decide they don’t want to work more than 14 hours a day to generally pay between $ 60 and $ 140, although some counties pay more.
The average age of electoral workers in Georgia is over 65, and many of them have retired from work due to the coronavirus.
“As COVID-19 swept through Georgia, Georgia’s vulnerable elderly election workers stayed at home to protect themselves from the pandemic,” said Foreign Secretary Brad Raffensperger. “Through these public-private partnerships, we will fill the gaps with younger electoral workers and contribute to a smooth and efficient experience.”
Students can help meet urgent need for election workers, said Evan Malbrough, who founded the Georgia Youth Poll Worker Project, a nonprofit that recruits young people for the job.
Malbrough, a Georgia State University graduate, signed up for the surveys last spring as internships and job vacancies dried up due to the coronavirus pandemic. He was an electoral technician in the Pittman Park District setting up equipment and fixing problems.
“There are a lot of people like me who have lost economic opportunities because of COVID-19, and there are elections to be cast,” Malbrough said. “Young people are familiar with technology and may be able to respond better to problems.”
State officials say they will need over 20,000 election workers to occupy counties across Georgia on election day November 3rd. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM
Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC
Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC
Election workers can be up to 16 years old and must be residents or employees of the county in which they intend to serve.
The job requires a few hours of training and a commitment to work as long as necessary on election day.
Workers are tasked with greeting voters, checking them in, helping them use voting computers, and ensuring they put their paper votes in scanners to be counted. Poll workers cancel postal ballot papers from people who choose to personally vote and resolve issues that arise.
They will also socially distance voters, clean surfaces and disinfect voter access cards.
Professional athletes, including Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Atlanta Dream Guard’s Renee Montgomery, are also looking to recruit new election workers. Her organization, More Than a Vote, is planning outreach efforts in a dozen states, including Georgia.
Cobb County’s polling officer Janine Eveler said good help is always difficult to find, but the problem has worsened due to COVID-19. She is trying to find 1,500 election workers for the presidential election.
“We’re looking for people who can work with the public and who can work with some technical equipment,” said Eveler. “It takes some perseverance. Everyone knows they’re going to work a long day, but they have to be kind. “
Election workers will continue to be hired until shortly before election day, but the next few weeks are a critical time to find reliable workers. Election workers are expected to take several hours of training courses in September or October to prepare them for the November 3rd crowd for election day.
How do I become an election worker?
Election workers must be at least 16 years old, live in the county they want to work in, and be able to read, write and speak English.
Anyone can sign up to be an election worker, but hiring decisions are made by each county election office. The job typically pays $ 60 to $ 140 for election day election workers, plus a training allowance. Some counties pay higher wages.
Georgians interested in becoming election workers can register through the Foreign Minister’s website at Securevotega.com/pollworkerrecruitment. The state then sends voter information to counties.
Potential election workers can also register via gapollworker.com, thegeorgiayouthpollworkerproject.org, govotega.org/pollworkers or acluga.org/pollworkers. In addition, anyone can apply directly by contacting the election office in their district.