WSB-TV Gets Real: County officials working to recruit young, old poll workers ahead of November election

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — The push is on before November’s election to get enough people to work the polls.

Just weeks away from Nov. 3, Gwinnett County says it’s still taking applications and leads for election workers and really never stop recruiting.

“We are always looking for poll officials. It has been a struggle honestly here in Gwinnett County the last few years,” said Gwinnett County Elections Supervisor Kristi Royston.

Many are older and in higher-risk groups. That’s why they’re going to keep everyone spaced out, and add things like gloves, wipes and sanitizer.

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“With the pandemic they don’t feel comfortable coming out, so that created long lines, unfortunately had to close polling locations,” Royston said.

Officials are also working to recruit younger poll workers.

“We did a couple initiatives with teachers when they were out of school, toward high school students when they were home because this would give them an opportunity for them to get out and be in the community, as well as they may not have been able to continue working and this would give them some extra cash to have, so we have been recruiting very differently considering the current situation,” Royston said.

In Cobb County, they’re also actively recruiting, even using local organizations like the Cobb Association of Realtors.

President Jenea Kennedy says they’re partnering with the Secretary of State’s office and Secure the Vote to try to get the word out to their members and clients.

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“It’s a combination of realtors, community leaders, homeowners, just people that are able, willing and can get out there and work the polls,” Kennedy said.

They don’t want a repeat of what happened in June’s primary. By getting involved, they hope to see shorter lines and all polling locations open on Election Day.

[PHOTOS: Voters wait in long lines to cast ballot in Georgia primary]

“What we don’t want to happen is for people to be turned away, we want everyone to have their voice heard,” Royston said.

The Secretary of State’s office had a goal of 20,000 new precinct workers across the state, At last check were getting close to 15,000.